Valkiri Mk 1.22
|Manufacturer:||Somchem Division of Denel (Pty) Ltd|
|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
|Name:||Multiple rocket launcher|
Development of the 127 mm (24-round) Valkiri Mk 1 22 multiple rocket launcher was undertaken by Denel Munitions (at that time SOMCHEM Division of Denel) from November 1977 as a counter to the Russian BM-21 (40-round) 122 mm MRS in service with neighbouring African countries.
Development was completed in March 1981, with the system entering series production in April and first deliveries beginning later in 1982. It is understood that a total of 25 production systems were built. The system is no longer being marketed.
The 127 mm (24-round) Valkiri Mk I 22 is designed to be deployed either on its own in batteries of two troops with three launchers each, or in conjunction with more conventional tubed artillery against area targets such as guerrilla camps, troop concentrations and soft-skinned vehicle convoys.
Due to its high mobility it is well suited to the 'shoot and scoot' technique whereby it would fire all its rockets at a target and then retire before counter-battery fire is initiated. The 127 mm (24-round) Valkiri Mk I 22 saw extensive combat service in southern Angola after it entered South African National Defence Force inventory.
The system was given the name Chindungu (the red pepper that bites) by UNITA. Within the South African National Defence Force this system is also referred to as the Visared.
Production of this UNIMOG-based system was completed some time ago and it was replaced in production by the more mobile and more well protected Denel Munitions 127 mm (40-round) Valkiri Mk II system on a Samil 100 (6 × 6) chassis. Details of this are in a separate entry.
Marketing of the Denel Munitions 127 mm (24-round) Valkiri Mk I 22 system was completed many years ago.
The launcher unit consists of a 24-round pack of three rows of eight 127 mm launcher tubes mounted on the rear hull of an unarmoured Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG (4 × 4) truck chassis. Overhead canopy railings are fitted to disguise the vehicle as a normal truck. The vehicle carries hydraulically operated elevation and traversing gear for the launcher and is stabilised during firing by a pair of hydraulic supports mounted at the vehicle rear. A conventional artillery sight is mounted on the left side of the launcher and is stored in a special container on the vehicle when not in use.
Firing is either by a firing panel within the cab or via a 50 m plug-in cable connected to a remote firing unit. A test circuit is incorporated to check the rocket status and circuitry prior to firing. The unguided 127 mm rockets are launched either singly or in ripples of 2 to 24. The firing rate is one rocket per second.
The 127 mm standard 2.68 m, 53 kg weight rocket has a double-base propellant motor and a prefragmented anti-personnel warhead, with a thin-walled cast epoxy resin cylinder containing 8,500 steel balls to give a lethal area of 1,500 m2. A contact or proximity fuze is screwed to the front of the warhead. The range varies from 8,000 to 22,000 m depending on whether spoiler rings are used on the rockets to slow them.
Reloading is manual and takes about 10 minutes. Upper atmosphere and surface meteorological data required for firing in order to achieve a high first hit probability is obtained by means of weather balloons, a vehicle-mounted telescopic mast with wind vane and anemometer close to the launchers and a wind gun that fires small calibre projectiles to estimate the prevailing ground wind conditions. The time taken for the launcher to deploy in a pre-surveyed site is 5 minutes; to come out of action takes only two minutes. A radio is fitted within the vehicle cab as standard with an extension to the remote fire unit.