"These Xenos ships could be described as terrifying, I suppose. But give me a thousand Valkyries to fill the skies with fire and we'll see what's left of this alien filth worth fearing."
— Air Marshal Zutrov before the Battle of Borenza Gulf
The Valkyrie is a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft carrier used primarily by the Astra Militarum both as a ground support gunship and as a transport for air combat regiments such as Tempestus Scion Squads and the Elysian Drop Troops. Although a Valkyrie and her crew serve the tactical needs of the Imperial Guard, they are typically composed of pilots and enlisted men from the Imperial Navy's Aeronautica Imperialis and are made available to the Guard as needed.
The Assault Carrier Valkyrie is a nimble, well-armed, twin-engined assault ship. The Valkyrie chassis' durable armor and versatile payload combined with the aircraft's powerful engines and stable handling make it a popular choice for a wide range of battlefield missions. These assault ships use atmospherically sealed cockpits and omni-flammable promethium in their vector turbojets, allowing them to be used against enemy aircraft in the upper atmosphere and against ground forces on even the most hostile worlds.
With a troop transport capacity to rival the ubiquitous Chimera, the Valkyrie is often used to quickly redeploy squads of infantry. Attacks on key targets by cadres of Tempestus Scions, reinforcements of collapsing battle lines by grim gangs of veterans, even hasty transports for high-ranking officers—all these and more are the Valkyrie's duty.
Airstrikes play a crucial role in the battle plans of many Imperial commanders. Due to the high risk of such maneuvers and the high reward of eliminating key enemy resources, it's common for Valkyries to be loaded with the best troops available - veteran guards or Tempestus Sprouts. However, certain pragmatic officers have won crucial victories, using Valkyries to disperse common soldiers across large swaths of the battlefield. One of these company commanders - Jetta Bacchi of the Athonian 992nd "Vagrant Blades" - has used Valkyries in multiple city battles across the Imperium to occupy the battlefield with his Tunnel Rats before engaging the enemy. Once deployed, each infantry squad will set up choke points and ambushes throughout the combat area. The enemy is then faced with an unenviable choice – either crawl forward, trying to avoid falling into infantry traps, or run ahead at full speed to escape the deadly aerial rain unleashed by the Valkyries.
Even when troop transport is not required, or when battlefield conditions make such actions impossible, Valkyries are still an invaluable asset in the air. Their armament allows them to conduct airstrikes and punitive attacks on ground forces while knocking out enemy planes from the air. While certain xenos attack ships are faster, few have the balance of offensive and defensive capabilities that make the Valkyrie so resilient and versatile.
The Valkyrie's main armament is a multi-laser mounted directly 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, each manned by a gunner. This weapon configuration allows the Valkyrie to remain stationed after her troops have been dropped while using her VTOL abilities, and to provide close air support or cover support fire during a difficult mission. The Valkyrie can replace her multi-laser with a laser cannon and can also replace her Hellstrike missiles with 2 additional external fuel tanks for longer range operations or 2 multiple rocket pods. The aircraft can also be fitted with ejection seats, additional armor for the cockpit, flare or chaff launchers, infrared targeting systems and Flares.