The most prolific, renowned and respected Viper model is the Mark II which served through most of the Cylon War. The Viper Mark II is a single-seat craft possessing two kinetic energy weapons. Hard-points beneath the wings allow missiles, munitions pods and other ordnance to be mounted. Designed during the conflict and incorporating many lessons of the 'new type' of war the Colonials unexpectedly found themselves fighting, it was a quick manoeuvring and high accelerating Viper with impressive firepower; being purposely designed to operate in both space and atmospheric conditions.
A long, sleeker version of the Viper with specialized features for space attack, reconnaissance, and atmospheric flight. The fore section comprises the nose back to the cockpit. Located there are the forward RCS for maneuvering the craft; the forward landing gear; the main avionics and 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 kinetic energy weapons, their munitions storage and feeds. Mounting points 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 II's shape is distinctive 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 Viper is highly maneuverable, dangerously so in inexperienced hands. Reaction control system (RCS) thrusters for rapid and flexible attitude control, a cluster of 3 main thrusters for high acceleration, and retractable reverse thrusters housed in both port and starboard cowlings for some degree of deceleration can subject the pilot to punishing g-forces.
Viper cockpits are pressurized and heated, and pilots wear flight suits which, along with a breathing pack housed within the back, provide full life support should ejection be required. The Mark II was initially designed to resist Cylon attempts at disabling or damaging its flight controls. With the number of analog gauges and controls, the Viper had aboard it could be flown entirely without computer assistance negating the chance of compromise by an electronic attack to a large extend. A simple computer was kept aboard to manage the flight systems present in the cockpit though.
The Colonial Military exclusively operated the Mark II and its adoption, hastenned due to ease of construction and full mobilisation of industry, led to the hasty retirement of most Mark I and Spaceplane type Vipers still being kept going.