Marine Power Armour Stealth tech
30th Sep, 2009

This has been added to the Tactical Gear page of the main site. It details the marine's steal technologies, both evasion and detection. I wanted to introduce some ideas for tactical options when out in the field, especially is caught in the open. Active camouflage is something modern militaries have been working on for a while, though how useful it would be against IR sensors etc. is debatable (hence I also threw in IR suppression tech.)

Active Camouflage

The armour is covered in coating which adapts its colour to it's surroundings. Depending on the coating types the surface of the armour can alter it's appearance, colour, luminance and reflective properties to allow the marine to blend into his surroundings. The camouflage is used by the marine when out in the open (not within STC like structures/ Ecorium) and allows them to close with enemies that may fee the Emperor's justice.

  • Dark Age technomancy: A mythical cloaking device. A marine wearing this disappears and can not be detected.
  • 'OLED' based AC: The armour is coating in a form if 'organic light emitting diodes' only more complex and technically 'alive'. The armour collects video data of the surroundings an maps it onto the surface of the armour, and can match most luminance levels. It is not perfect, the marines can still be seen, and any movement really gives the game away. If stationary the marine is practically invisible, though 'unnoticeable' would be a better description, especially in complex and detailed environments like jungle or rubble.
  • Pigment based AC: A simpler form of AC similar to 'e-paper'. It lacks luminance, and can not match ambient light levels.
  • None: Some Chapters do not have this function, or refuse to use it. The armour is locked to chapter colours, or painted over.

Some radiation is harder to suppress like infra-red. To deal with this the armour's cooling system is routed through heat exchangers to power up 'Thermoelectric cells'. The takes all heat and converts it to electricity and is mainly a power conservation system. Combined with the ceramite insulation properties of the armour, the conservation system as the side effect of dropping the IR signature of the marine to virtually nil. The marines can still be seen, the outline etc. but they blend in with the background temp perfectly. However if they stand in front of a heat source their body will block it and they can be seen. Positioning is important when utilizing IR 'invisibility'.

Use of this AC function allows marines to suddenly appear from nowhere and get into the thick of melee causing havoc (and uses the local enemy as a 'meat shield'). Once in close the armour flashes to their Chapter colours as they butcher the enemy. If the enemy is ruthless and fires on their own kind in an attempt to kill the marines they find that marines are quite hard to kill and such actions can be detrimental to morale. This 'sneak and explode' style of combat is the hall mark of marines, but they also use sniper tactics and will often take out artillery and other snipers before getting into the thick of it (they do not assume the enemy command will respect the lives of their own side). The marines are less famous for this tactic but only because they are so good at it - as often the enemy has a clue where or who the sniper is.

Eye system

The auto-sense system includes two front mounted (stereoscopic) vid-sensors in the helmet. These sensors are surface mounted into a recesses, so that behind the eye is solid armour. The sensors are linked to the Convent, which in turn is linked directly into the marines's visual cortex. The auto-sense system bypasses the marine's natural eyes. The eye sensor has a number of interesting technologies.

  • Wide spectrum: The sensors can detect a wide spectrum of radiation, including infra-red and ultraviolet (black light). All the information is processed by the Covenet to render the image the marines will see. Often non-visible light is used by the Covenet to figure out what object are, and outline and mark them with icons.
  • Non-stick: The eye lens of the auto-sense system is hydrophobic and naturally resists water, and other fluids. It is a form of non-stick surface, like Polyester (teflon), only better. Fluid and gore may simply not stick and is repelled.
  • Eyelid: In reality the non-stick coating is not 100%, and some sticking occurs; scratches or acid damage would give some purchase. It is almost impossible for the marine to use his armoured gauntlets to wipe his eyes as they are too hard, even the padded grip tips do no yield enough due to their solid backing. To clear the lens of contamination a mechanical lid, made of a tough transparent membrane, is used. It is housed in the upper part of the eye armour.

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9 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!

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  1. Gexogen says:

    'Chapter Approved' tell us that Space Marines too proud to wear even camouflage. They Chapter Colours and badges are items of they pride. And what about cloaking devices?

    I think Space Marines are shock troops - they don`t need stealth (except scouts). Lightning attack, surgery strike - and work is done. They are guys with steel balls 🙂

    Long-time sieges, large-scale combat operations etc. - works for IG. Marines Companies or even Chapters are too small groups for really big war. Living tanks can be useful in special cases, I think. E.g. for breaking enemy defence lines, destruction of critical objectives or something - ideal creatures for some kind of Blitzkrieg :).

    How about seismographic sensors (marines are heavy, right?), radars (marines can't be absolutely silent - too massive and heavy :))? There are many detectors ans sensors besides visual...

    They are too big, too heavyweight, and too noisy (and too glamorous :))) for silent operations, IMHO. Finally, they have scouts with cloaking and camouflage.

    P.S. Sorry for my English 🙂

    • Philip S says:

      Your English is fine 😉

      I agree with what you say, though at the same time a tactical marine can fulfil a scout roll. They even have a suspensor in the backpack to offset weight so they can be surprisingly 'light'.

      These stealth technology are my re-image, a way to explain how they work in more detail for the purposes of Dark Heresy.

      I'm not suggesting a marine would use stealth technology out of fear, but out of a need to close with an enemy who will run away and disperse; to maximum the kills in a lighting strike from nowhere! (i.e. enemy is using guerilla warfare tactics). This is not so much a scout role I invasion, but getting into a base, changing back to chapter colours and running amok!

      Other times the marine, where an enemy is more determined, may not use this stealth technology. Instead they use fast assault troops - it 'all depends'. Stealth technology is merely one more option in the marines arsenal.

  2. Kage2020 says:

    Amusingly enough, I use similar approaches in "stealth" technologies for many of the armours in the Warhammer 40,000 universe to justify the somewhat ridiculous (to me) pagentry associated with all those bright colours, heraldic devices, etc.

    Well, it works for me. 😀


    • Philip S says:

      Did you have any articles for this over on Anargo?

      • Kage2020 says:

        No, not really. It's just my way of dealing with the idea that in "modern warfare" people are dressed in bright red armour. Might not be a solution for everyone but it works for me.

        Plus, that and Anargo is a seed that needs to be replanted in loving ground (in the works). 😀

        • Malika says:

          Dude! You really need to keep me updated on the Anargo revival, I'm very curious what you have planned! 😀

          • Kage2020 says:

            Not much to say at the moment, Malika. It's more of a concept -down approach to look at work-flow and methods, coupled with a bit of exploration on the technology angle (I don't want to have to hand-code Explore), and how to dust it off and remove some of the entrenched approaches that were dogging it (e.g. some of the concepts that were legacied in from Portent).

            It's not starting from a blank slate, more akin to pushing all the materials into a pile and then going through them with an eye focused on the narrative a bit more. Maybe bring certain concepts to the fore (trade wars, noble politics), while stepping back from others (Tombworlds).

            Who knows. Not I, at the moment, but if the project is going to reach its potential then we need to think about the parameters of the project, identify objectives, vectors for extensibility, and so forth.

            Erm, but there we go.


          • Kage2020 says:

            Shameless plug, but keep your eye on the Community site, Malika. There's a few threads there about updating software, but that's about it at the moment. I had to reset all permissions, cull some boards, etc., but it will be interesting to see where things go.

            It's all about decentralisation now. All I've got to do is figure out how to get Astrosynthesis crooning with Fractal Mapper and we'll be on a good start for bringing it back live and kicking.

            Erm, but there we go. Sorry for another OffT comment, Phil.


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