The Lightning Coalition was a sub-faction of more brutal and aggressive Autobots. Similar to The Wreckers they performed covert ops and special missions requiring more aggressive tactics, including termination of targets. The team was lead by Grimlock and members would later become the Dynobots.
The Lightning Coalition was created by Dreamwave Productions for the Transformers: War Within origin series. They were created by writer Simon Furman and editor Roger Lee. IDW and High Moon Studios would later use the Team as part of the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Game and Digital Comic.
Following Optimus Prime and Megatron's disappearances during "The Dark Ages", the Autobots and Decepticons soon split into several sub-factions. The Lightning Strike Coalition, was formed out of Grimlock's old unit that was under Optimus's command after he received the title of Prime and the Matrix of Leadership.
They acted as a commando unit striking Starscream's Predacons and Decepticon sites and convoys. When Ultra Magnus took leadership of the Autobots, the members disbanded, but Grimlock formed a new team known as the Dynobots. This new unit followed a Decepticon group to Earth, sometime after the Ark's crashed on that planet, but millions of years before the Transformers reactivated.
The Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Comic)
Before the Great Exodus, the Lightning Strike Coalition were a subgroup of Autobots under the leadership of Grimlock. They reluctantly followed Optimus Prime, but did not care for his cautious brand of warfare, and preferred to charge in guns first. Swoop was sent to investigate Shockwave's energon sources. During his mission he disappeared. When the other four coalition members (Sludge, Slug, Snarl, & Grimlock) learned that Swoop had been captured by Shockwave, they disobeyed orders and went after him. Upon arriving at the Sea of Rust, they were overpowered by a swarm of Insecticons. Sludge was thought to have been killed and the rest were taken to Shockwave's labs.
It turn out that Sludge was in stasis lock, but the other members were to be re-engineered by Shockwave to become more powerful and transform into alt-modes that resembled creatures he discovered on a distant planet (Earth). Eventually they escaped captivity, and renamed themselves as the "Dinobots". They also found schematics for an additional new body for Sludge.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Sludge and the rest of the Lightning Strike Coalition deserted their posts defending the Ark to look into some mysterious energy readings. They steal an Autobot drop ship and travel to the Sea of Rust. The energy readings turned out to be related to Shockwave's recent activities near the energon lake, and his efforts creating a space bridge and the creation of the Insecticons. Most of the Lightning Strike Coalition battled the Insecticons, and were captured. (See Fall of Cybertron Comic). Jazz discovered Sludge's, partially dismembered and grafted to the wall of an Insecticon hive. He removed Sludge's memory core and flooded the tunnels with a toxic fluid, destroying Sludge's body in the process. It is assumed that Sludge's Core was then combined with the schematics the other Dinobots acquired (See Rage of the Dinobots Comic).