The Mark VII is the Colonial Fleet's latest update of the Viper primary space superiority fighter/attack craft. Capable of atmospheric and space flight, the Mark VII is in front-line service throughout the Fleet; it retains the general layout of previous Viper designs but adds fully integrated avionics that provide far superior battle management and flight information for the pilot. There are two variants fielded by the Colonies, the newer one characterized by angular air intakes and a compressed forward fuselage. Additionally the new version is identified by the drab gray hue it possesses that differs from the other in-service variants gunmetal-gray coloration.
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 and the operating system that runs it (the latest package being the CNP). Its integrated systems and computer management gives the Mark VII pilot far greater control of the fighter as well as enhanced targeting control in a dogfight.
Being a limited range single-seat craft, the Viper does not possess an FTL drive and as its role is to establish space supremacy, it comes armed with kinetic energy weapons (KEW). 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. In addition, it has hard-points beneath the wings for mounting missiles, munitions pods and other ordnance.
Survivability is improved by measures such as primary and secondary hydraulics, the secondary system acting as a redundant backup for mission-critical prime system. In comparison though it is the performance upgrade over legacy Vipers, greater computerization and heavier armament that clearly differentiate this latest issue of the Viper from what has come before.
The Hisser is a two crew electronic warfare fighter tasked primarily with jamming enemy DRADIS and gathering wireless signals from the enemy. A variant of the Colonial Viper that uses the same basic air frame; though with an extended nose and larger wing area, it seats a pilot and an ECO in tandem. Lacking an installed FTL system means it is typically deployed from a Battlestar, snugly fitting into a launch tube. Armed with two wing cannons and heavier than the Mark VII it is built from; the Hisser is not a competent combat platform and typically avoids engagement with opposing fighters. It accelerates quickly and as such can outrun dangers to its mission. The Fleet has only just begun to convert a handful of squadrons to the type.