The Raptor's primary function with the Colonial Defense Force is as an electronic warfare platform. It scouts ahead of the fleet, accompanies Vipers and provides targeting information and electronic counter measures (akin to the Prowler). Raptors can also carry external munitions to assist Vipers against large targets. Its non-combat roles include SAR (search and rescue) operations (akin to the SH-60 Seahawk) and transport of military personnel in hostile areas. Raptors, like Vipers are capable of atmospheric operations but unlike Vipers are also capable of short-range FTL jumps. Standard crew includes at least two: one pilot, and one electronic countermeasures officer (ECO).
It is designed for reconnaissance, scout operations, and electronic countermeasures roles supporting Vipers, marine assaults, ambulance, EVAC, and general transport.
It has a multitude of electronic countermeasure and monitoring tools including jamming transmissions, scrambling signals of guided weapons, and Viper Identification friend or foe operations.
As a scout it can operate independently or with other Raptors and Vipers using short and medium-range scans to detect radio, heat, or other signatures from spacecraft, scanning planet surfaces for life, energy output, and mineral content and location, scouting ahead and looking for hazards before its Battlestar takes an FTL jump, and search and rescue operations.
A Raptor can carry about eight to ten adults in addition to its two-person crew functioning as a transporter and can carry about eight marines including their equipment as an assault vessel. The crew of a Raptor operate using their flight suits and helmets in order to ensure their protection in case of any hull breach causing depressurization of its cabin.
It cannot takeoff from a Battlestar's launch tube like the Vipers because of its large size; it is launched from a flight pod instead. Battlestars carry squadrons of 8 to 10 Raptors and each Raptor is designated to a Viper squadron with two Raptors on reserve.
The Raptors can fly in both atmosphere and space, but in order to maintain lift in an atmosphere its engines must be constantly running which consumes more fuel. At low speeds, Raptors may experience poor handling.