"These xenos craft could be called fearsome, I suppose. But give me a thousand Valkyries to fill the sky with fire, and we shall see what is left of these alien filth that is worth fearing."
- — Air Marshal Zutrov before the Battle of the Borenza Gulf
The Valkyrie is a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) airborne assault carrier used primarily by the Astra Militarum as both a ground support gunship and a transport for airborne combat regiments like Tempestus Scion Squads and the Elysian Drop Troops. Despite serving the tactical needs of the Imperial Guard, a Valkyrie and its crew are usually composed of pilots and armsmen drawn from the Imperial Navy's Aeronautica Imperialis and are provided to the Guard on an as-needed basis.
The Valkyrie assault carrier is a manoeuvrable, well-armed, twin-engine Attack Craft. The durable armour and versatile payload of the Valkyrie chassis combined with the aircraft's powerful engines and stable handling make it a popular choice for a broad spectrum of battlefield roles. These Attack Craft use atmospherically-sealed cockpits and omni-combustable Promethium in their vector-turbojets, allowing them to be deployed against enemy flyers in the upper atmosphere and against ground forces on even the most hostile worlds.
Sporting a troop transport capacity on par with the ubiquitous Chimera, the Valkyrie is often used to swiftly redeploy squads of infantry. Strikes at key targets by cadres of Tempestus Scions, reinforcement of buckling battle lines by grim-faced bands of Veterans, even hasty transportation for ranking officers -- all of these and more are the duty of the Valkyrie.
With a few notable exceptions, most Astra Militarum formations will have small numbers of Valkyries attached to them on a temporary basis; such aircraft are, first and foremost, the property of the Aeronautica Imperialis. During extended ground operations, however, they are usually repainted to match their assigned regiment, and their pilots report directly to that regiment's senior officer regardless of the difference in service.
With vectored engines permitting vertical take-off and landing, these versatile aircraft can twist and turn through the rigours of low-altitude dogfights, or hover while troops rappel from their holds. In addition, every Valkyrie is equipped with sufficient Grav-Chutes for all passengers, allowing expedient, if hazardous, high-speed deployment into the thick of combat.
To burst from the steel cocoon of a Valkyrie's transport bay into the icy air above packed ranks of enemies can be jarring, even by the standards of the Astra Militarum. As the chuted infantry descend towards the seething mass of foes they are peppered with fire. Those grav-troopers who manage to touch down may find themselves within feeding range of some mutated xenos monstrosity, or set alight by gouts of daemonic flame. But for all this, the shock of a Valkyrie drop is even more terrifying to the enemy, who find themselves fighting on new and unexpected fronts with no warning, other than the roar of an overflying Valkyrie. Carefully orchestrated offensives are thrown into utter disarray as Lasgun-wielding infantry are disgorged to assail the flanks and rear of the assaulting army. Artillery and psykers unleashing their destruction far from the front lines are surrounded and brought down by the massed fire of the descending troopers.
Valkyries have a storied history of service alongside Imperial infantry and armour regiments, and are sometimes referred to by Imperial Guardsmen as the "Wings of the Emperor." Certainly those Guardsmen who have seen a ravening Carnifex blasted apart from on high by a Valkyrie's Hellstrike Missiles, or been lifted from the path of an onrushing Ork horde in the tight confines of the transport bay, have nothing but respect for these exceptional aircraft.
"Fire. Drop. Fire. Retrieve. Repeat as needed."
- —Mantra of Aeronautica Imperialis Valkyrie pilots
Airborne assaults play a crucial role in the battle plans of many Imperial commanders. Due to the high risk of such manoeuvres, and the high reward of eliminating key enemy assets, it is common for Valkyries to be loaded with the best troops available -- Guard Veterans or Tempestus Scions. However, certain pragmatic officers have achieved decisive victories by using Valkyries to distribute rank-and-file soldiers across large swathes of the battlefield. One such Company Commander -- Jetta Bacchi of the Athonian 992nd "Vagrant Blades" -- has used Valkyries in multiple city fights across the Imperium to seed the battlefield with his Tunnel Rats before engaging the enemy. Once deployed, each Infantry Squad sets up choke points and ambushes across the zone of battle. The foe then faces an unenviable decision -- either move at a crawl trying not to stumble into the infantry's traps, or barrel ahead full pace to outrun the deadly rain of aerial fire unleashed by the Valkyries.
Even when troop transport is not required, or when the battlefield conditions make such actions impossible, Valkyries are still an invaluable aerial asset. Their armaments allow them to carry out hit-and-run strikes and strafing runs on ground forces whilst swatting enemy flyers from the sky. Though certain xenos Attack Craft are faster, few boast the balance of offensive and defensive capabilities that make the Valkyrie so resilient and versatile.
The Valkyrie's primary armament is a Multi-Laser that is mounted just to the side of the cockpit and two Hellstrike Missiles carried under its wings. The Valkyrie is also equipped with two door-mounted Heavy Bolters that are each manned by one gunner. This weapons configuration allows the Valkyrie, when using its VTOL capabilities, to stay on station once its troops have been dropped and provide air support or covering support fire during a difficult insertion. The Valkyrie can replace its Multi-Laser with a Lascannon, and can also replace its Hellstrike Missiles with 2 extra external fuel tanks for extended range operations or 2 Multiple Rocket Pods. The aircraft can also be equipped with ejector seats, Extra Armour Plating for the cockpit, flare or chaff launchers, infra-red targeting systems, and illumination flares.
When a Valkyrie is expected to be assigned to the Guard for a long-duration assignment, usually to provide combat air support and transport, the Aeronautica Imperialis modifies the aircraft by adding more heavily reinforced armour to better protect it in close firefights with enemy forces. The reinforced armour reduces the Valkyrie's maximum altitude and range due to the increased use of Promethium fuel, but it makes the Valkyrie a far more robust combat platform when it is carrying out its VTOL transport and gunship roles. The Valkyrie is capable of carrying 12 Guardsmen, but cannot carry Ogryns. Valkyries also posses the cargo capacity to carry modified Drop Sentinels, Cyclops Demolition Vehicles or Sentry Guns instead of a complement of Guardsmen, but the added weight requires that they also carry two additional external fuel tanks.
There are several variants of the Valkyrie in use by the Imperium, including the following:
- Vendetta - The Valkyrie Vendetta is a Valkyrie modified to carry 3 Twin-linked Lascannons which allow it to operate in the role of a dedicated tank buster and anti-armour asset while still mounting the two Heavy Bolters at its doors. Some variants also replace 2 of the Twin-linked Lascannons placed on its wings with 2 Hellfury Missiles instead that are specifically designed to destroy armoured vehicles by unleashing an incendiary fury that cooks the vehicle's crew within its armoured shell or can be used to drive enemy troops from cover in lieu of their wing-mounted Lascannons.
- Vulture - The Vulture is a gunship of the Imperial Navy's Aeronautica Imperialis that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). It is used to provide heavy air support for Astra Militarum ground units and the Valkyrie transport. The Vulture is very similar in appearance to the Valkyrie, but with a drastically different role on the battlefield. The Vulture is capable of carrying a large variety of weapons and is able to engage both infantry and armoured units, and is also able to effectively attack fortified enemy structures and bunkers. The Vulture is an attack gunship, and its main role is the support of Valkyrie assault carriers while in flight and while their Imperial Guard troops are disembarking. The Vulture will often stay at the drop zone after the Valkyries have left in order to provide heavy air support to the infantry on the ground.
- Sky Talon - The Valkyrie Sky Talon is a stripped-down Valkyrie modified to carry light vehicles instead of troops. The troop compartment is replaced with magnetic lifting clamps that allow the aircraft to latch-on to light vehicles, such as the Tauros or Drop Sentinels, and drop them from a very low altitude right into the heart of battle.
Known Users of the Valkyrie
- The Imperial Navy - All aircraft or Assault Craft in the Imperium fall under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Navy's Aeronautica Imperialis, though they are also provided to the Astra Militarum on an as-needed basis. All Valkyries are flown by experienced Imperial Navy pilots and crews.
- The Astra Militarum - The Astra Militarum are the primary users of the Valkyrie. The Imperial Navy provides Valkyries to Imperial Guard regiments when they are needed, and many Guard regiments make use of Valkyries. Some regiments, such as those of the Elysian Drop Troops, have Valkyries that are permanently provided to them by attached Aeronautica Imperialis squadrons.
- The Inquisition - The Inquisition's agents have the ability to requisition any equipment or vehicles they need while on the battlefield from any arm of the Imperial military. Many Inquisitors use Valkyries as personal transports during missions, and the Inquisition has their own permanent Valkyries and pilots that are used to deploy their Storm Troopers into battle.
Notable Regimental Users of the Valkyrie
- 2nd Imperial Navy Tactical Wing - Fought in the defence of Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler.
- 22nd Elysian Drop Troop Regiment - Fought during the Yarant III Campaign.
- 64th Elysian Drop Troop Regiment - Took part in the ill-fated Fifth Ymgarl Insertion.
- 123rd Imperial Navy Tactical Wing - Part of "Pursuit Force Fidelis," during the Battle of Kovalic 479.
- 99th Elysian Drop Troop Regiment, D Company Veterans - Fought against the Tyranids that escaped from a secret Adeptus Mechanicus research facility on Anphelion IV.
- 184th Imperial Navy Tactical Wing - Transported Storm Troopers during Operation Comet, part of the Taros Campaign against the Tau.
- 71st Imperial Navy Tactical Wing - Participated in Operation Deathblow during the Taros Campaign and during the Helion V Campaign.
- 23rd Elysian Drop Troop Regiment - Fought during the Taros Campaign against the Tau.
- 181st Elysian Drop Troop Regiment - Served during the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- 5136th Imperial Navy Wing - Supplied 80 Valkyries to aid in the Raid on Kastorel-Novem.
- 226th Elysian Drop Troops Regiment - Fought during the defence of Betalis III against the Eldar of Craftworld Mymeara.
- Athonian 992nd "Vagrant Blades" - Commanded by Jetta Bacchi, known for innovative use of the Valykrie in delivering infantry troops to urban battlefields (see above).
- 205th Imperial Navy Tactical Wing - Inducted into Inquisitorial service by Inquisitor Gruberman during the Tyrama Secondus Campaign.
- Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Tyrus - Used to transport Storm Troopers during the Purging of Gladrinus VI.
- Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Hector Rex - Used to transport Storm Troopers during the Judgement of Hellanus.
Adeptus Mechanicus Technical Specifications
|Type||Assault Carrier||Operational Ceiling||13,000 Metres|
|Vehicle Name||Valkyrie||Max Speed||1100 kilometres per hour|
|Forge World of Origin||Mars, Voss, Artemia, Estaban VII||Range||2000 kilometres in atmosphere|
|Known Patterns||I - X||Main Armament||Hull-Mounted Multi-Laser, 2 Door-mounted Heavy Bolters|
|Crew||1 Pilot, 1 Navigator, 2 Door Gunners||Secondary Armament||2 Hellstrike Missiles or 2 Multiple Rocket Pods|
|Powerplant||2 F75-MV Afterburning Vector-Turbofans||Main Ammunition||150 Shots From Power Pack|
|Weight||13.0 Tonnes Empty||Secondary Ammunition||1000 Rounds|
|Wingspan||16.9 Metres||Superstructure||75 millimetres|
|Height||4.8 Metres||Hull||75 millimetres|
- Codex: Astra Militarum (8th Edition), pp. 63, 117
- Codex: Astra Militarum (6th Edition), "Valkyries & Vendetta Gunships," "Fast Attack-Valkyrie Squadron"
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 56, 101
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, pp. 241-248
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 202-205
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 106, 107, 110, 111, 124, 125, 126, 143, 149, 269, 271, 273, 310
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 58, 62, 63
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - The Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 21, 24, 25, 37, 45
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 102, 104
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse, pg. 39
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pg. 38
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 316
- Aeronautica Imperialis (Rulebook), pg. 22
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 288
- Death From the Skies (6th Edition), pp. 58, 69
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 132
- Dawn of War - Winter Assault (PC Game)
- Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (PC Game)
- Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (PC Game)
- Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC Game)
- Space Marine (Game)
- The Regimental Standard - On Wings of Victory