Capable of atmospheric/vacuum flight, the Viper Mark IV is a single-seat craft possessing three projected energy weapons (PEWs). Hard-points beneath the wings and forward fuselage allow missiles, munitions pods and other ordnance to be mounted underneath.
The Viper Mark I entered Colonial Military service shortly before the outbreak of the first Cylon War. However, the Mark II variant (designed specifically for use with the new Colonial Battlestars) has garnered the most recognition and production rates. The fighter served with distinction throughout the Cylon War, proving to be a capable fighting spacecraft and scoring multiple kills across the Twelve Colonies; the Mark II is regarded as instrumental in ensuring that the Colonials did not lose the original Cylon War next to the original Battlestars and the Mark I.
The Mark II remained in service after the end of the conflict, but was subsequently superseded by newer models such as the Mark III, which entered service mere months before the first conflict ended. A few years later, during the Cylon skirmishes happening along the outer rim of the colonies solar system, the Mark IV entered production in means of intercepting Cylon freighters as well as warding off multiple Post-Cylon War raiders. The craft was merely a Mk. III but was upgraded with three experimental (at the time) projected energy weapons located at the base of each wing with two forward torpedo launchers attached at each side of the mid-section of the nose (under the cockpit). This almost tripled the fire power of the Viper, earning the nickname "Scorpion". Although 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 and III's/IV's general layout, but utilizes fully networked systems to provide superior battle management and combat information for the pilot.
Seemingly similar to the Cylon Heavy-Raider in performance as well as weaponry, a Mark IV is capable of holding its own against many times its number of Raiders in the hands of a veteran pilot, compared even to a Mark VII. Sovereigns contingent of such craft equaled to two full squadrons, on one such instance 2nd Lt. Jace "Jax" Sheen and his 5 volunteers destroyed 4 Cylon freighters and 32 Raiders at the cost of one Scorpion and all Mk. IV torpedo ordnance aboard the Battlestar.
The Mark IV's are equipped with an onboard computer which contains a IFF transponder, an electronic reference of ships which, in conjunction with the scanner and the DRADIS, can give the pilot information on a unknown ship and identify whether or not there are organic or in-organic life forms onboard the said ship. A technique used by the pilots to tell whether or not an unknown freighter or tanker is a threat. As part of its use in the Post-Cylon War, the Mark IV was initially designed to resist Cylon attempts at disabling or damaging its flight controls, the same went for the Mark II's and III's during the war, and was intended to be flown entirely without computer assistance. Nevertheless, a simple computer to manage the flight systems to manage the "Mark One Eyeball" is present in the cockpit along with the DRADIS and scanner.
The Mark IV's main weapon are 3 x hind-firing Projected Energy Weapons (PEWs) mounted in the wing roots with 1,000 charge capacity, replacing the standard 2 x MEC-A6 30mm Thraxon forward-firing kinetic energy weapons (KEW) with 800 round magazine. The mid-nose storage bay for 10 x SD-40 Torpedo launchers on each side (under the cockpit) also replaced the Dorsal storage bay for 8 x HD-70 Lightning Javelin missiles. In additional, weapon hardpoints for mounting missiles/munitions pods, etc. under the wings and forward fuselage.
The Mark IV is a long, sleek vehicle with specialized features for space attacks, reconnaissance, atmospheric flight and its specialty, interception.
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, 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 projected energy weapons, their battery storage and feeds. Mounting points (hardpoints) beneath the wings allow missiles, munitions pods and other items to be rack-mounted.
The wing's roots contain the main landing gear, retracted during flight. The Mark IV's shape resembles earlier models 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.
The Mark IV can rotate 180 degrees vertically in 1.85 seconds and 360 degrees completely in 3.70 seconds. It accelerates at eight to nine G's, or 80 to 90 m/s²