Lets talk Forge World. There are some useful units to consider, especially flyer wise for the Imperial Guard, and probably the Militarum Tempestus. I emailed FW today to get a clarification on their use for MT, but until I get an answer, lets assume your using them as part of your AM ally slot. Some of the flyers are pretty darn good, none are honestly crazy though and pretty well priced if even a little
over priced. So lets get on with it.
First up is the Thunderbolt Fighter, the mainstay of the imperial navy. Its 180pts, has 3 HPs and is AV 11 11 10 and BS 3. It has 2 TL autcannons and a TL Lascannon. It has the supersonic special rule, and has an armored cockpit which allows crew stunned and shaken to be ignored on a 4+, and it has repair which doesn't really work any more as locked velocity isn't the same in 7th (don't believe it exists at all anymore). Upgrade wise you can give it 4 hellstrike missiles or 6 tactical bombs for 40pts, or 4 skystrike missiles for 50. Way too expensive to be taken in my opinion. It can take some of the special flyer upgrades, none really are good enough to really be worth taking. I'll discuss them specifically later on. But really I don't see them being useful enough of an upgrade.
Bare bones will do the job and thats how I would take it. Since it directly competes with a vendetta, lets do a comparison. Its ten pts more and has less armor on front and side, and has no transport capacity. It has two TL autcannons instead of lascannons, which I actually like. Having 4 TL auto shots and one TL las is a good combo and enough to deal with a flyer or ground vehicle in a turn of shooting or two depending on the flyer/vehicle. Volume of fire helps and I think there are some benefits here, but I'm not sure if its enough over a vendetta. The armored cockpit is nice to ignore stunned and shaken but that alone doesn't set it far enough apart to make it a strong choice over vendettas. Its still good though and will still do the job as anti air and is a little better in ground attack than the vendetta. I'd consider it but wouldn't auto take over the vendi.
The lightning Strike fighter is next and is an awesome model, at least the new one. Almost enough to make me get one, but not quite. At 145pts its well priced and has AV 10 10 10 and 2 HPs, BS 3, it is agile which gives it +1 to its jink save and has armored cockpit and is supersonic. Its armed with a TL lascannon and long barreled autocannon. The only difference is that the autcannon is 72" range, otherwise exaclty the same as a normal autocannon. Upgrade wise it can replace the autcannon with 2 hellstrike missiles or two tactical bombs +strafing run for free. It can take 4 hellstrike missiles, six tactical bombs, or 4 hellfury missiles for 40pts, or 6 sky strike missiles for 50pts. The sky strike missiles are tempting as they are TL vs flyers and fast skimmers, but that is a very expensive fragile model.
Here again I see it stock as the way to go, the tactical bombs +strafing run for free is tempting, but they are one use only so you'll be left with only a TL lascannon later on. Its fragile so keep it cheap and jink when you need to. As a basic anti air flyer its not bad for its cost and does its job, and the autocannon can reach out and touch someone. At its price you could bring two, but it takes up a heavy slot so this is prohibitive. Its not amazing, but will do its job and is something to consider as a cheaper AA option that can still hunt vehicles pretty well.
You can replace the multi laser with TL autocannon for free, TL missile launcher for 10, TL lascannon for 15, or two MRPs for 20. The Hellstrikes can be replaced by 2 hellfury missiles for 20, 6 tactical bombs or 6 HK missiles for 40, and MRPs for 30. Or you can replace both for a TL punisher cannon for 50pts. The punisher is an obvious choice as with TL and strafing run, thats a lot of shots hitting home.
You can give it the TL autocannon and hellstrike missiles for tank hunting or hitting air targets. Honestly its pretty good in a couple of roles, but definitely excels as an anti infantry or medium vehicle hunter. Vector dancer is great and along with strafing run, you can hit ground targets very reliably. This is definitely one of the best choices here. Its a fast attack choice which is nice, as you aren't taking a slot away from wyverns or leman russes.
A really interesting choice is the sky talon. Its only 70pts, and while a heavy support choice, it does not take an actual force org slot up. It has vector dancer and is armed with a heavy bolter and 2 hellstrike missiles. It has the skylift special rule which allows it to pick up a tauros or two drop sentinels. You can pick up a tauros squadron if you have enough sky talons to grab the whole squadron. The hellstrike missiles can be replaced with MRPs for 30pts. So for 100pts you have a flyer with vector dancer that has some pretty nice anti infantry capabilities and doesn't actually take a slot up.
If you don't care about the lost transport capacity, this is a really nice valk variant to consider and can bring highly mobile anti infantry for cheap. This is another high recommendation.
The Avenger strike fighter is probably one of my favorite looking flyers. Its AV 12 10 10 with 2 HPs, has an armored cockpit, comes with strafing run and supersonic, an avenger bolt cannon, two lascannons, and a defensive heavy stubber (meh). And its 150pts. The avenger bolt cannon is a S6 AP3 heavy 7 weapon, which is pretty awesome.
This is a dedicated ground attack fighter and with strafing run it does this job well. With its armament its a solid if not amazing air killer too. Weapon upgrade wise, its similar to the first two in that they are really expensive. The it can take two autocannons or multi lasers for 30pts, two missile launchers for 40, two hellfury or hellstrike for 20, or six tactical bombs for 40. The hellfurys are not bad and wouldn't be a terrible choice. The auto cannons are prob the best and what I would take if going for upgrades.
Its a solid flyer that does its job base and some of the upgrades are not too bad and don't go too far into the bank. It is a heavy support choice so keep that in mind, but I think it does its job pretty darn well. I really want one of these and its def in my future as either a kitbash build or the actual FW model.
Ok lets talk about chaff launchers, illum flares, paint scheme and infrared targeting. Infrared is 5pts and gives you night vision. Night fighting is not as big a deal as it was before so not really enough for me, its cheap but not needed IMO. Illum flares are a one time use per turn, drop it like a bomb and any units targeting an enemy unit within 12" gain night vision. Not bad, but again night fight isn't as big of a deal and the flyer has to be on the board during night fight for it to be useful, even a 5 pts its not that great. Chaff launchers are 10 and give the flyer a one time use 4+ invul save against missile shot at it. Its too particular to be useful and not enough armies use missile weapons to bring flyers down. Its a no for me. Last is the distinctive paint scheme for 10 which is a one time reroll of a unit's morale check if the flyer is on the board and in line of sight. Its not bad and can def help if you really need to pass that morale check. Prob the best but by no means really good enough to warrant taking.
For me my top three are the vulture, sky talon, and avenger. The rest are not bad, but not great either. I would def take the vulture and avenger as AM allies for my scions. Who knows, maybe forge world will get back to me and decide if Militarum Tempestus can use them too. Other wise though they bring some good flyer support and are great additional options to consider for AM and MT.