The Viper Mark VI is the Colonial Fleet's second latest update to the venerable Viper primary space superiority fighter/attack craft. The first being the top of the line Mark VII after it.
Capable of both atmospheric flight and space flight, the Mark VI is the "front-line" variant of the Viper design, retaining the Mark I's and II's layout but adding in accordance with fully advanced integrated avionics that provide superior battle management and flight information for the pilot.
Ironically, it is this incorporation of the integrated systems that prevents the majority of Mark VI's and VII's from being effective during the beginning stages of the Cylon attack: as with the majority of the Colonial Fleet, the Mark VI's suffered fatal computer system failures on contact with Cylon forces. The new integrated defense and navigational software (most commonly known as the Colonial Navigation Program) 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 completely. Though this problem can be overcome by removing the navigational upgrade compromised by the Cylons, though, the information is not discovered in time to benefit the surprised and hard-pressed Colonial forces by the Fall of the 12 Colonies.
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 like all other Vipers before it.
The Mark VI cockpit was constructed and designed for total computerized flight. A tip to revitalize the space superiority fighter craft to a more technological modern state in the Colonial Fleet, unlike the Mark II-V used before. There are fewer analog gauges and more reliance is placed on a powerful central flight computer. This gives the Mark VI pilot, and later the Mark VII, far greater control of the fighter as well as greater targeting control in a dogfight.
However, the latest and last software upgrade, the CNP upgrade, introduced a fatal flaw in the Mark VI and VII that leads to the virtual annihilation of most of these fighters in the opening wave of a Cylon attack.
The surviving Mark VI's fighters on both the Translucent and later the Sovereign are unlinked with the compromised CNP and then later replaced with older avionics packages to eliminate further Cylon virus infiltration.
The Mark VI's main weapons are three forward-firing cannons (first weapon to be used on a Viper). Two are mounted towards the outboard sections of the wings, and one is mounted in the vertical stabilizer. This replaces the two 30mm "Thraxon" gun used in older models such as the Mark II and V, thus almost doubling the firepower.
The Mark VI retained most of the older outlooks and original design features of the older Viper models, most notably the Mark II. The general layout of the fuselage has changed very little after the Mark III/IV and V when the Mark VI was commissioned. Though, considerations to "modernize" the layout when the Mark VII came into play was proceeded by the Ministry of Defense just a few months before the fall of the 12 Colonies. This was made to catch up with the newer Battlestar classes.
Other Design featuresEdit
The spacecraft was designed specifically smaller with a wider wing-span for greater speed and maneuverability. The nose retained the sleek old-fashioned look but was more narrowed towards the nose and lengthen for maximum speed. With the introduction of a new, and smaller, propulsion system with updated state of the art turbo-thrusters; the Viper Mark VI aft engines were clustered and grouped tightly together to accommodate with its smaller size and acceleration. The vertical stabilizers was also sleeked back more and increased for better performance in roll, pitch, and yaw in accordance with maneuverability.