The South African Army gained an appreciation for the simplicity and deadly effectiveness of the Soviet-designed BM-21 "Grad" Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) 6x6 wheeled vehicles when they employed these against Angolan forces. In the late 1970s, Denel Land Systems took the design as a starting point for a modernized, locally-produced version of the truck-mounted system with changes instituted to suit local Army requirements. The result of this work became the "Valkiri" MLRS which entered service in 1982 and maintains an active presence in the South African National Defence Force inventory today (2015) (now as the "Bateluer").
The original mark became the "Valkiri-22" Mk 1 which sat a 24-shot launch tube atop the chassis of a UNIMOG 4x4 wheeled truck. This provided for excellent ground clearance and cross-country traversal from the fully-suspended arrangement. The launcher component was fixed to the back and given a mounting which allowed the weapon to train up-and-down or left-to-right as required for aiming. The driver's compartment remained at front. Hydraulic support legs were lowered at the rear of the hull prior to firing.
From this a dimensionally shortened form emerged as the "Valkiri-5" which was promoted for use by Army airborne elements. Shortened rockets were developed for the more compact launcher component which now seated just twelve rockets but provided airborne troopers with substantial firepower when needed.
The modern incarnation of the Valkiri system has become the "Bateleur". It features a 40-shot trainable launcher component seated to the rear of a Samil 100 series 6x6 truck, a 10-ton system classified as a heavy duty vehicle. The truck itself has been adopted to fulfill a variety of battlefield roles including troop hauler and Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) system and forms the hauling component to the new Bateleur MLRS. Again, ground clearance and cross-country travel is excellent and the extended cab allows for the crew of five to reside under protection when in action. The launcher supports standard range rockets as well as a slightly heavier "Extended Range" (ER) variant.
The Bateluer is 9.6 meters long with a width of2.5 meters and a height of 3.4 meters. Its combat weight is 21,550 kilograms. Road ranges reach 600 kilometers while off-road ranges peak at 500 kilometers. The vehicle is able to make headway at about 80 kmh.