The Valkyrie is a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) airborne assault carrier used primarily by the Imperial Guard as both a gunship and a transport for airborne combat regiments like Storm Trooper 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 and are provided to the Guard on an as-needed basis. When a Valkyrie is expected to be assigned to the Guard for a long-duration assignment, usually to provide air support, the Imperial Navy 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 troops, 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.
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 load 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. The aircraft can also be equipped with ejector seats, extra armour for the cockpit, flare or chaff launchers, infra-red targeting systems, and illumination flares.
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-linkedLascannons 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.
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.
The Imperial Navy - All aircraft in the Imperium fall under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Navy, though they are also provided to the Imperial Guard on an as-needed basis. All Valkyries are flown by experienced Imperial Navy pilots and crews.
The Imperial Guard - The Imperial Guard are the primary users of the Valkyrie. The Imperial Navy provides Valkyries to Guard regiments when they are needed, 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 the Imperial Navy.
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.