The Raptor is a multi-role vehicle used by the Colonial Defence Force. It is generally operated by a crew of two, is capable of atmospheric flight and is also equipped with a short-range FTL jump engine, allowing it to make short faster-than-light hops.
The Raptor is designed to fulfil a number of roles, the primary being that of reconnaissance / scout operations. Additionally, the Raptor can also undertake the following roles:
- Electronic countermeasures platform supporting Viper operations (Mini-Series, 33)
- Marine assault carrier (Bastille Day
- Ambulance / evac vehicle Mini-Series
- General purpose transport Flesh and Bone, Secrets and Lies.
As an ECM platform, the Raptor contains a full suite of electronic countermeasure and monitoring tools, enabling it to:
- Jam transmissions from other spacecraft Mini-Series, 33)
- Scramble control signals used by guided weapons (Mini-Series)
- Undertake IFF operations for Viper squadrons (Mini-Series)
In the role of a scout, the Raptor can operate independently of, or in concert with, other Raptors and Vipers (The Hand of God) and:
- Undertake short and medium-range scans to detect radio, heat or other signatures from other vessels
- Scan planetary surfaces for signs of life, energy output, or to assess mineral or other content / location (Water, The Hand of God)
- Scout ahead of its parent warship, scouting star systems, etc., to look for any signs of hostile intent, etc., prior to the parent ship jumping-in (Mini-Series)
- Undertake search & rescue operations.
As a transport vehicle, a Raptor is capable of carrying around 8-10 adults in addition to the 2-person crew. As a marine assault vehicle, it can carry a squad of some eight marines plus their equipment (Bastille Day).
Due to its size, the Raptor is not launched via a battlerstar's launch tube; instead it is lunched from the forward end of a flight pod.
Typically, a Battlestar operates with a single squadron of 8-10 Raptors: 1 Raptor assigned to each operational Viper squadron aboard the battlestar, and potentially two "reserve" Raptors.
The Raptor is designed for atmospheric as well as space-based operations. However, a critical element to atmospheric operations is that to remain airborne is fuel: once in an atmosphere, the engines must be run constantly to retain lift surfaces. Depending on the conposition of the atmosphere itself, this can place severe strain on the Raptor's engines (You Can't Go Home Again).
Due to their overall configuration and bulk, Raptors may also suffer from poor handling at low speeds, and rely heavily on directed thrust to remain airborne.
The main flight deck / cabin of a Raptor is fully pressurised. However, crews operate in flight suits and helmets to help protect them against any hull breach Mini-Series. The cabin can also be depressuried and used in space rescue operations (You Can't Go Home Again.
- Length: (approx) 28ft
- Beam: (approx) 20ft (wingtip to wingtip)
- Height: (approx): 15ft
- Mass: 50 tonnes (Mini-Series)
- Offensive: None
- Defensive: Decoy drones and flares; reduced electronic signature to avoid detection
The Raptor is a boxey vehicle but for purpose, not style. The forward section of the vehicle contains the flight deck, with side-by-side seats for the pilot and ECO (who occupies the rear section of the vehicle during normal operations). This opens into the main body of the vehicle, which contains bulkhead-mounted racks of of electronics equipment and sensors. A large canopy provides good forward and side visibility for the crew, which is no doubt of considerable benefit during atmospheric flight. A section of this canopy can be jettisoned in an emergency, to allow the crew to eject using the flight deck seats. Access is gained via a large hydraulic door mounted on the port side of the vehicle provides access to the vehicle. In addition, a floor-mounted hatchway provides a further point of egress. This is linked to a docking skirt that can be extended from the underside of a Raptor, anabling it to dock with other vessels and the crew achieve access (e.g. in the case of an assault, allowing marines to force an entry into a hostile vessel (Bastille Day)).
Aft of the pressurised flight deck and crew area is the jump system and main sublight engines. Winglets either side of the hull help to give stability during atmospheric manoeuvres and have landing thrusters mounted under them, which may use vectored thrust from the main sublight engines.
- The Raptor is the vehicle piloted by Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii
- At the time of the Cylon attack, the Galactica' had five operational Raptors aboard (Water), although was later revised to six in Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II
- The design of the Raptor was based on the US Army's Apache helicopter
--Colonial Archivist 12:36, 17 Jan 2005 (EST)