Viper Mark VII
This article discusses the newer Viper-class fighters seen in the Re-imagined Series. For information on the older, generally obsolete Viper Mark II fighter from the same series, see Viper Mark II. For the Viper used in the Original Series and in Galactica 1980, see Viper (TOS).
The Viper Mark VII is the Colonial Fleet's latest update to the venerable Viper Mark II primary space superiority fighter / attack craft.
Capable of atmospheric flight, the Mark VII is the front-line variant of the Viper design, retaining the Mark II's general layout but adding fully integrated avionics that provide superior battle management and flight information for the pilot.
Ironically, it is this incorporation of new integrated systems that prevents the majority of Mark VIIs from being effective during the Cylon attack: as with the majority of Colonial Fleet, the Mark VIIs suffer fatal computer system failures on contact with Cylon forces. Thanks to a Cylon agent's relationship with Dr. Gaius Baltar, scientist and programmer of the navigation software project, the navigational software in use on board most Colonial Fleet vessels contains back-doors that allow the Cylons to infiltrate a vessel's computers by wireless signals and to disable its power systems. Though this problem can be overcome by removing the navigational upgrade compromised by the Cylons, the information is not discovered in time to benefit the surprised and hard-pressed Colonial forces.
Being a single-seat craft, it mounts three forward-facing kinetic energy weapons (KEW). In addition, it possesses hard-points beneath the wings for mounting missiles, munitions pods and other ordnance (The Hand of God).
Main article: Computers in the Re-imagined Series
Mark VII main instrument panel
The Mark VII cockpit is almost totally computerized. There are far fewer analog gauges and more reliance is placed on a powerful central flight computer. This gives the Mark VII pilot far greater control of the fighter as well as, presumably, greater targeting control in a dogfight.
However, the latest and last software upgrade, the CNP upgrade, introduces a fatal flaw (inserted by a Cylon agent) in the Mark VII that leads to the virtual annihilation of most of these fighters in the opening wave of the Cylon attack.
The surviving Mark VII fighters on both Galactica and Pegasus are retrofitted to older avionics packages to replace the compromised CNP and eliminate further infiltration.
As of "Scar", Pegasus has begun to use her on board construction facilities to produce replacement Vipers. Materials mined in an asteroid field allow the production of two full squadrons. Additionally, since Pegasus joined the Fleet, Mark IIs have been steadily phased out in favor of retrofitted Mark VIIs.
Main article: Weapons in the Re-imagined Series
The Mark VII's main weapons are three forward-facing cannons, two in the wings and one in the vertical stabilizer. Typically, it is only the wing-mounted cannons that are used.
Like the Mark II, it can also be armed with missiles.
While the Mark II can rotate 180 degrees vertically in .35 seconds (Act of Contrition), it is presumed that the Mark VII has an equal or better performance ratio. Given that the Mark II is capable of holding its own even against superior numbers of modern Cylon Raiders, the more advanced Mark VII probably also has an equal or superior performance as Raiders in the hands of a capable pilot.
Other design features
The Viper Mark VII has primary and secondary hydraulics, the secondary system presumably acting as a redundant backup for mission-critical prime system. Damage to both systems does not significantly compromise the Viper's performance as a space combat craft, provided the pilot is sufficiently skilled to manage the changed flight characteristics (Scar). The consequences of the loss of both systems in atmospheric flight would undoubtedly be far more dire.
Viper Mark VII
Class: Viper Mark VII
Crew: 1 Pilot
Weapons: 3 Kinetic Energy Weapons,
Support and fighter craft: None
Main Hull: Length 9.8643 meters
Height 2.9508 meters
Wingspan 5.61 meters
System: 3 x turbothrust engines mounted aft
2x Voram VM3-D22 turbothrust engines
2x reverse thrust motors: RCS points
Other Information: Armaments 3 x forward-firing kinetic energy weapons (KEW), 2 mounted towards the
outboard sections of the wings, 1 x mounted in the vertical stabiliser, Weapon hardpoints
HD-70 Lightning Javelin missiles (optional 50 megaton nuclear warhead), Weapon
for mounting missiles / munitions pods, etc. under the wings.