Denel Rooivalk

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$40 million
Turbomeca turboshafts
2 x 1,900 shp ea.
12,630  lbs.
19,290 lbs.
490 gals.
20 mm
4,400 lbs.
61 ft. 6 in.
17 ft.
51 ft. 2 in.
173 mph
185 mph
2,600 fpm
20,000 feet
440 miles


The Denel Rooivalk (Red Kestrel) was designed and manufactured in South Africa. Its missions can include ground support, anti-armor, reconnaissance, and helicopter escort. The helicopter is armed with a 20 mm cannon in its nose and can carry rockets and missiles on its wings.

The Denel Rooivalk has the ability to operate day and night in virtually all weather conditions. Its development began around 1985 using an existing design as its base.

The fuselage of the Denel Rooivalk is a composite and metal design for strength and durability. As is the practice with attack helicopters, the crew has tandem seating, with the pilot behind the gunner/co-pilot. Although there is excellent all-around visibility from the cockpit, it has been designed to minimize glare from the sun.

Inside the cockpit are head up displays, and night-vision goggles. The cockpit structure is reinforced, with energy absorbing seats provided for the crew. The Denel AH-2 is shaped for minimal radar signature as well as a low infra-red signature.

The four blade main rotor of the Denel Rooivalk is made from composites. Automatic flight controls facilitate hovering and landings. Platforms run along the outside of the fuselage in cowlings that are used to provide easier access to components while performing maintenance on the helicopter. A five bladed tail rotor provides some extra control in case of a shell strike, and minimizes noise. The landing gear consists of two fixed main front wheels and a small wheel in the tail of the helicopter.

Computerized systems aboard the helicopter include threat detection, targeting and tracking, electronic counter measures, a gyro stabilized gun platform, constant flight systems and engine monitoring.

Typical weapons carried by the Denel Rooivalk are eight anti-armor missiles, four air-to-air missiles, and a 20 mm cannon with 700 rounds of ammunition.

Twelve Denel Rooivalk helicopters were built before production ended in 2007. As of this date eleven of the helicopters are still operating. Five of the helicopters have received weapons and avionics updates, with upgrades to the remaining six helicopters pending completion.

One thought on “Denel Rooivalk”

  1. The Denel Rooivalk is pretty much a reverse engineered version of the Aerospatiale Puma using basically the same engines and main rotor.

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