|Manufacturer:||Somchem Division of Denel (Pty) Ltd|
|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
|Name:||Multiple rocket launcher|
The 127 mm (40-round) Valkiri MARS is a second-generation version of the Denel Munitions Valkiri Multiple Artillery Rocket System (MARS) mounted on an all-terrain Samil 100 (6 × 6) truck chassis fitted with a five-man armoured (against small arms and shell splinters) and mine-protected crew cabin.
Development of the system began in 1985 under the leadership of Denel Munitions (at that time SOMCHEM, a Division of Denel), with the first production units completed in 1989.
Known by the name Bateleur to the South African National Defence Force, the first battery of eight launchers was delivered in March 1990 as the replacement for the 24-round Valkiri Mk I systems used by the mechanised brigades.
Details of this system, only used by the South African National Defence Force, are given in a separate entry. As far as it is known these Mk 1 systems have now been placed in reserve.
The larger Samil 100 (6 × 6) chassis has sufficient space for all the launcher system equipment and rations, stores and water required for a 14 day operational cycle. The modular launch pack unit contains five rows of eight 127 mm rocket launch tubes and is fitted with electrohydraulically operated elevation and traverse gear. A manual back-up system is also fitted. The elevation and traverse controls are located on the left side of the launcher.
The Samil 100 chassis and suspension have been strengthened with the front axle upgraded from 6,500 to 7,500 kg. Improvements to the V-10 air-cooled diesel engine and transmission give the vehicle 45 per cent better traction and 90 per cent better gradient ability than a standard Samil 100.
A new option is a 5-speed automatic gearbox, which has improved acceleration and top speed and reduced fuel consumption. Additional diesel fuel tanks extend the range to 800 km at a speed of 80 km/h.
The complete launcher unit can be mounted on other suitable 10,000 kg vehicle types if required. All production Valkiri II systems built to date have been fitted onto the locally built Samil 100 (6 × 6) chassis.
Sophisticated electronic navigation and north seeking equipment as well as computer-controlled semi-automatic laying equipment has been developed for the weapon system. Together with a data communication radio, this brings the fire-control system of the weapon up to most modern standards.
Firing is usually carried out with the two hydraulically operated stabiliser jacks lowered at the rear and is performed from within the armoured cab or via an optional remote hand-held firing console.
The 127 mm unguided rockets may be fired either singly or in ripples with a separation interval of 0.5 second. Total salvo time for all 40 rockets is 20 seconds.
The 2.95 m long, 127 mm extended-range rockets weigh 63 kg overall and use a rocket motor with a high-energy double-base propellant. They can be fitted with a number of warhead types, the predominant one being the very effective HE prefragmented anti-personnel and light vehicle warhead with a thin-walled cast epoxy resin cylinder containing 9,700 steel balls. A proximity fuze assembly with an adjustable burst height between 3 and 8 m increases the kill probability. The proximity action is backed up by a super-quick point-detonation action.
The system can also fire the standard 54 kg, 22,000 m range 127 mm rocket.
Manual reloading in the field is undertaken by using an ergonomically designed loading platform. The option of mechanical reloading by replacement of the complete launch tube pack is also available.