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Encyclopedia - Denel AH-2 Rooivalk

With the SANDF initial requirement for 12 aircraft largely satisfied, the Rooivalk fleet is now able to perform its intended role of providing real and affordable deterrence value and to defend South Africa and its citizens.

Despite being a highly mobile, fast reaction airborne mission leader, Rooivalk is equipped with a full armoury compliment, which includes the South African 8000m range Mokopa anti-tank missile, where it will be a defender that any enemy would not wish to engage.

Rapid air support can be provided to our own troops, where Rooivalk can act as a force multiplier in peacekeeping and peace enforcement roles.

Army Commanders require accurate real time reconnaissance capability, for which Rooivalk is ideally suited. With its connection to sensors and communication links across the operational area, Rooivalk is the key intelligence link in command and control. This provides the entire operation with real time shared intelligence, potentially lowering the risk of friendly fire and collateral damage.

This feature, along with its inherent firepower abilities and unique flyability, makes Rooivalk an essential component in any operation.

The design of a modern Attack Helicopter has to include a multitude of requirements. Rooivalk is an integral part of the total defence network - fully autonomous, flexible, mobile and providing fire power 24/7, while maintaining user friendly interfaces to all command and control structures.


Rooivalk on Armed Reconnaissance:

  • Reconnoitre and locate threats with long-range on-board sensors
  • Secure flanks or weak areas with fast response times
  • Coordinate with joint operations teams
  • Select attack routes and positions, irrespective of the terrain
  • Provide surveillance and early warning of threats
  • Enhancement of C3I

Rooivalk on Tactical Missions:

  • Find the enemy and avoid detection
  • Provide the Battlefield Commander with:
    • 3-Dimensional situational awareness
    • Real time Data
    • Friend or foe discrimination
  • Be able to operate in close, deep or rear battle
  • Be able to operate with minimal logistics burden out of unprepared areas

Rooivalk on specific missions:

  • Targets are acquired first to ensure that Rooivalk fires first, based on accurate situational awareness
  • Enemy armour or mechanised forces can be destroyed using the Mokopa anti-armour missile
  • Enemy air defences are suppressed or destroyed using the precision weapon Mokopa
  • Enemy's second echelon is disrupted and/or destroyed using rockets in indirect mode
  • Rapid rear area protection can be provided with quick re-deployment and hot turnarounds as required.


Defence Force Commanders gain a true 24-hour real-time tactical situational awareness in all weathers from Rooivalk's multi-spectral sighting systems. Reconnaissance and targeting capability is possible using the nose-mounted main sight (LLTV, FLIR) and the helmet-mounted sighting display (3rd generation NVG).

Rooivalk's fully integrated digital management system and low cockpit workload provides crew with more time for battlefield awareness.


Rooivalk's design allows a long-range self-deployment capability of over 1 100km, longer if refuelling stops are included, or it can be deployed with minimal knockdown in a Hercules C130. Rooivalk can be deployed into the field without support, with a substantial standby operational period. Full autonomous re-arm and refuel can be carried out in the field with minimal support.


Rooivalk has unprecedented high levels of survivability through a systematic redundant design approach which combines extended lethal reach, rapid engagement times and agility with low detectability, comprehensive defensive aids, self-defence weapons and unmatched ballistic tolerance and crashworthiness.

Rooivalk operates exclusively at nap-of-the-earth heights and is capable of flight in adverse weather conditions and combines low audio, visual and infrared signatures to avoid detection.


Up to 16 Mokopa missiles - the most accurate and lethal new generation anti-armour and point target missiles available - can be carried, able to engage static and moving targets at ranges in excess of 8000m, observed and tracked with the onboard sighting systems or from a remote observation post. Up to 76 free-flight rockets can be fitted with a variety of warheads for area suppression.

Up to 4 Mistral air-to-air missiles can be carried for air defence and anti-helicopter roles, and a 20mm cannon for self-defence (slaved to the helmet sight for quick response). The cannon can also be used, slaved to the main sight, to provide an effective and accurate point weapon.



  • Anti-Armour
  • Ground Suppression
  • Close Air Support
  • Heliborne Escort
  • Reconnaissance
  • Counter-insurgency


  • 8 or 16 Anti-tank Mokopa (SAL) missiles
  • 4 x Air-to-air Mistral missiles
  • 38 or 76 x 70 mm Unguided rockets
  • 20 mm F2 High-speed dual feed cannon, carrying 750 rounds

Crew Stations

  • Pilot and weapons system operator
  • Interchangeable cockpits

Sighting System

  • Dual helmet-mounted sights (HMSD)
  • Nose-mounted stabilised sight
    • TV, FLIR
    • Laser rangefinder
    • Laser designation
    • Autotracker
  • Pilot Night Vision System


  • Fully-integrated, dual redundant avionics and weapons systems
  • Dual multi-functional cockpit displays
  • MIL-STD-1553B databus
  • Stores management
  • Health and usage monitoring
  • Accurate navigation (GPS and Independent NAV)

Survivability Features

  • Low detectability
  • Low vulnerability
  • Crashworthy design
  • Threat detection and warning system

Power Plant (Sea Level ISA)

  • 2 x Makila 1K2 turboshaft engines
  • Twin-engine take-off rating 1 492 kW
  • Single-engine super contingency rating 1 716 kW

Flight Performance

  • Maximum take-off mass 8 750 kg
  • Max. Speed (VNE) 167 KTAS
  • Fast Cruise speed 150 KTAS
  • Max. Sideways speed 50 KTAS
  • Max. Rate of climb (twin-engine operation) 2 620 ft/min
  • Max. Rate of climb (single-engine operation) 1 128 ft/min
  • Max. Range (internal fuel) 700 km
  • Max. Range (external fuel) 1 260 km (45 min reserve)
  • Max. Hover ceiling (OGE) 16 500 ft
  • Max. Hover ceiling (IGE) 18 200 ft
  • Vibration Level (4/Rev 100 KCAS) 0.021 g

Gallery Images

Denel AH-2 Rooivalk


Crew : Two (Pilot and Weapons Systems Officer)
Country of Origin : South Africa
Operators : South African Air Force


Length : 16.39m (53ft 9in)
Length, Rotors Turning : 18.73m (61ft 5in)
Height : 5.19m (17ft)
Main Rotor Diameter : 15.58m (51ft 1in)
Tail Rotor Diameter : 3.05m (10ft)


Empty Weight : 5,910kg (13,029lb)
Max Take-off Weight : 8,750kg (19,290lb)
Internal fuel load : 1,469kg (3,238lb)

Landing Gear

Type : Fixed tailwheel type with a single wheel on each unit
Wheelbase : 11.77m (38ft 7in)
Wheel Track : 3.00m (9ft 10in)


Max Speed At Cruising Level : 167kt (309km/h; 193mph)
Maximum Range : 378nm (700km; 438mi)
Initial Climb Rate : 2,620ft (799m) per minute
Hover In Ground Effect : 18,200ft (5,547m)
Hover Out Of Ground Effect : 16,500ft (5,029m)

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