Viper Mark II
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Capable of atmospheric flight, the Viper Mark II is a single-seat craft possessing two kinetic energy weapons (KEWs). Hard-points beneath the wings allow missiles, munitions pods and other ordnance to be mounted (TRS: "The Hand of God").
The Viper Mark I entered Colonial service shortly before the outbreak of the Cylon War. However, it is this Mark II variant (designed specifically for use with the Colonial battlestars) that has garnered the most recognition. The fighter served with distinction throughout the Cylon War, proving to be a capable fighting vehicle and winning renown across the Twelve Colonies; the Mark II is regarded as instrumental in ensuring that the Colonials did not lose the original Cylon War .
The Mark II remained in service after the end of the conflict, but was subsequently superseded by newer models. At the time of the Cylon holocaust, the sleek Mark VII is the front-line variant of the Viper design. It retains the Mark II's general layout, but utilizes fully networked systems to provide superior battle management and combat information for the pilot.
Seemingly similar to the Cylon Raider in performance as well as weaponry, a Mark II is capable of holding its own against many times its number of Raiders in the hands of a seasoned pilot. Galactica's Viper contingent regularly fights off large Raider wings; in one particular instance, Kara Thrace defeats eight Raiders almost single-handedly (TRS: "Act of Contrition").
As part of its use in the Cylon War, the Mark II was initially designed to resist Cylon attempts at disabling or damaging its flight controls . Given the number of analog gauges and controls, its likely that the Mark II was intended to be flown entirely without computer assistance in fear of compromise by an electronic attack. Nevertheless, a simple computer to manage the flight systems is present in the cockpit, assisting the pilot's Mark One Eyeball. Some gauges, such as the altimeter, are used only in atmospheric flight.
The Mark II is a long, sleek vehicle with specialized features for space attacks, reconnaissance, and atmospheric flight.
The fore section comprises the nose back to the cockpit. Located there are the forward RCS systems for maneuvering the craft; the forward landing gear; the main avionics and sensor packages and the single-seat cockpit.
The stern comprises the main engines, numerous RCS maneuvering jets, fuel tanks, wings and vertical stabilizer. The wings themselves contain the kinetic energy weapons, their munitions storage and feeds. Mounting points beneath the wings allow missiles, munitions pods and other items to be rack-mounted (TRS: "The Hand of God").
The wing's roots contain the main landing gear, retracted during flight. The Mark II's shape is distinctive because of the offset "intakes" mounted just behind the cockpit. The port / starboard "intakes" incorporate small but powerful reverse thrust engines that can quickly counter a Viper's forward momentum in an emergency (TRS: "The Hand of God").
Known Viper Mark IIs