Crew None (biomechanical being)
Role Space superiority fighter
Weapons 2 kinetic energy weapons, conventional/nuclear missiles.
Other Images More images...
Length 29.3 feet (8.94 meters)
Height 4.97 feet (1.52 meters)
Wingspan 18.3 feet (5.59 meters)
The modern Raider, called sparrow in Colonial military jargon (Maelstrom), radically redesigned but still resembling its past incarnation as a giant flying wing, is first encountered 40 years after the Cylon War, when the Cylons launch their devastating surprise attack on the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. During this attack, Raiders transmit commands to Colonial vessels utilizing the Command Navigation Program (CNP). Compromised prior to the attack, the CNP was programmed with backdoors that permitted the Cylons to cut the power of any ship carrying the program (Miniseries).
This incarnation of the Raider is initially thought to be wholly mechanical in design, with a high-level AI controlling it. However, from inspection of a damaged Raider forced down in a firefight and recovered by Lieutenant Kara Thrace (Act of Contrition), the craft is found to be bio-mechanical in nature (You Can't Go Home Again), incorporating a number of large organs in its design, including a central brain. In effect, a modern Raider is a creature in itself.
Though Raiders are self-aware, their intelligence level is less than that of a humanoid Cylon and more like a trained animal (Six Degrees of Separation). Nonetheless, they are capable of independent thought and action, and can refuse to follow orders if they choose (Six of One). Much like the humanoids, the bio-mechanical Raider's consciousness resurrects in a new "body" if it is destroyed. While this allows the Raider to "learn" from its previous mistakes and become a more proficient killing machine, it can cause Raiders to develop what can be described as a desire for revenge after repeated deaths (Scar). Galactica's Viper pilots are regularly outnumbered and survive, indicating that Cylon Raiders are generally not matches for skilled human pilots.
The Raider is equipped with an FTL drive system (Miniseries). Following tests on the Raider captured by Galactica, this FTL system is found to be far more efficient in jump calculations than Colonial FTL systems. The drive shows its accuracy when Lt. Thrace takes the Raider from a point somewhere near the vicinity of Kobol back to Caprica in a single jump (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I).
It is armed with conventional and nuclear missiles carried in internal wing bays and two pairs of kinetic energy weapons of different calibers mounted under the leading edge of the wings. Curiously, the only times the Raiders have been seen using their missiles are during the Fall of the Twelve Colonies and the Battle of The Colony. This may indicate that Raiders are not normally armed with missiles.
Like its counterpart, the Colonial Viper, the Raider is capable of atmospheric operations, and retains an aerodynamic shape (You Can't Go Home Again).
During the Battle of the Ionian Nebula, a Raider identifies one of the Final Five after their activation, causing all of them to refuse to fight further and forces the Cylons to retreat (He That Believeth In Me). Cavil (a Number One) concludes that the Raiders exceeded their programming, and to regain control over them the humanoid Cylons must reconfigure the Raiders' neural architecture and shave down their heuristic responses, essentially lobotomizing them and "dumbing them down." This decision leads to a violent split among the Cylons ("Six of One", "The Ties That Bind").
They participate in the Battle of The Colony and battle Galactica's Vipers. For the first time since the Miniseries, they use missiles and one manages to destroy one of Galactica's gun batteries in the battle.