Sunday, June 6, 2010

Colonial Raptor

Designed shortly before the Cylon War the Raptor is one of the most enduring designs in the entire Colonial Fleet.  Extremely rugged it has consistently outperformed all designs meant to replace it over the years and has been upgraded to incorporate the latest technology.

The original Raptor was designed as a light scout and transport.  To this end it is equipped with sophisticated DRADIS and has its own short-ranged FTL drive.  Over the years the Raptor began to replace the ageing Firehawk and Hydra Electronic Airborne Warning (AEW) craft, incorporating the DRADIS antenna into the Raptor's lower wing, making it much less conspicuous.

The versatility and ruggedness of the Raptor means it has become invaluable to Colonial Fleet operations and its roles have been expanded to include the following tasks :

- Scouting and IFF Advanced Warning operations for Viper squadrons
- ECM and electronics warfare platform
- Missile carrier and gunship
- Search and Rescue and Medevac missions
- Light Shuttle and Combat Operations Craft

Though slow and vulnerable compared to the swift Viper, the Raptor has many weapon hardpoints, mounting missiles, rockets, bombs and guns, making it into an effective light gunship and missile carrier.

An lengthened version with a larger cargo bay is used exclusively by the Colonial Marines as a combat transport and adds extra armour and ballistic lining to protect the crew and features a pair of remote controlled door guns.

Several craft were developed to replace the Raptor, but none could match the versatility and combat readiness percentage of the Raptor.  The proposed Advanced Operations Craft is the latest attempt to produce a craft that will completely replace the Raptor.  The AOC, in addition to multiple internal and external hardpoints will feature a modular cargo bay, allowing the craft to simply swap one modular element for another and increase versatility, while allowing more specialisation with each module than was previously possible on the Raptor.

Should the AOC fail, a rumored Super-Raptor has been hinted at, slightly larger and partially based on the Marine version, this Raptor could extend the five-decade lifespan into a century or more.

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