- "Good night, arrogant American."
- ― Andrei Markov
Colonel Andrei "Akula" Markov (Japanese:アンドレイ・マルコフ Andorei Marukofu, Russian: Андрей Марков) is one of the main antagonists of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. A highly skilled pilot, Andrei is an ex-pilot of the Russian Air Force, now working as a freelance mercenary, siding himself with the insurgency forces ravaging Africa in 2015. He flies an Su-35 Flanker-E (Later missions have him flying a PAK FA) with a distinctive sharksmouth design, earning him the nickname of Akula (Japanese:アクーラ Akura, Russian :акула, meaning Shark)
In the 1990s, Markov fought alongside Sergei Illich and Ivan Stagleishov as part of Russian Federation's secret military assistance package to the government of Yugoslavia during the Balkan War. During this time, he had a wife named Krista Yoslav. Unfortunately, this union came to a sad end when Krista was killed in a USAF-conducted bombing raid in Bosnia. Her death would mark a change in Andrei's life, who harbored a deep resentment against the arrogance of the West, represented by the United States, ever since. Years later, his flight skill and actions on the battlefield would earn him the title of Geroy Rossiyskoy Federatsii (Герой Российской Федерации) or Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest honorary decoration in the country.
New Russian Federation (2015-2016)Edit
In 2015, Andrei joined the Russian crime organization Blatnoi, looking for a chance to have his revenge on the US. The group secretly funded an African anti-government militia named SRN while planning to stage a coup d'état in Russia. In December 2015, USAF pilot William Bishop suffered a nightmare while at the main NATO airbase in East Africa, wherein he was killed by Markov over the skies of Miami, foreshadowing their future battle.
Betrayal at Allied BaseEditMarkov's presence in the SRN conflict would remain unknown until December 23, 2015. Following a mission in the region of Mogadiyu, Stagleishov, working undercover as the leader of all Russian forces assisting NATO launched alongside his personal squadron from Hamada Airbase just as the SRN launched an assault on the northern city of Carruth. Stagleishov rendezvoused with Markov, setting Blatnoi's own plan in motion as the Warwolf Squadron fought off a rebel onslaught on their way to Carruth.
Minutes later, when most rebel resistance in the skies had been neutralized, Ivan and the Big Bear pilots returned, revealing their true colors by opening fire on the NATO aircraft. After all Big Bear pilots save Ivan had been taken out, Andrei himself entered the battlefield, and began pursuing Warwolf 2, who was saved by Bishop. In the ensuing engagement, Markov managed to inflict heavy damage to Bishop when Stagleishov told him to disengage because of Stagleishov's fuel running low. Markov complied, in fact telling Warwolf 1 that the he "was not good enough" upon departure without bothering to finish him off, implying that Akula didn't even think of him as a worthy opponent.
Activities in RussiaEdit
In December 31, after Blatnoi had successfully evicted the Russian government and seized power for themselves, Warwolf assisted an amphibious assault of the loyalists Tyuleni unit on an NRF-held fortress in Derbent. After the Russians re-captured the site, Andrei arrived to the area and cut short the celebration launching a Trinity missile before immediately leaving. Bishop intercepted the missile and destroyed it before it could hit its target.
Later on, in January 15, 2016, the loyalist Russians would launch an assault on Moscow in order to free it from the NRF, with Task Force 108 providing close support. Following a lone, "guerilla"-style operation conducted by helicopter pilot Doug Robinson to disrupt rebel air defenses and clear the way for the loyalists, a Trinity missile hit central Moscow, causing widespread damage across the city, Minutes later, a squadron of Tu-160 Blackjacks presumed to carry more Trinity warheads approached the city, only to the intercepted by the Warwolf Squadron. After all aircraft were eliminated, a sixth Trinity-equipped Blackjack entered Moscow airspace, escorted by Akula himself. A dogfight ensued between William and Andrei, which ended in the bomber being destroyed and Markov shot down. However, he ejected and survived.
After the liberation of Moscow, Ivan Stagleishov surrendered and pleaded for political amnesty in exchange for the last remaining Trinity weapon. However, Markov showed his true colors by betraying and killing him, and planned to use the missile for his own goals.
Assault on American soil and deathEditIn January 18, Markov, now flying a PAK-FA, flew with the last remnants of the NRF towards the United States, first launching an assault on Miami as predicted by Bishop's dream. The Warwolf Squadron return to the States in response and engage the renegades in combat alongside local USAF squadrons Tiger and Coyote. Upon definitively repelling the attack over Miami Beach, Bishop saw a repeat of his dream's ending as Markov launched a missile at him, but his death was averted by Guts, who sacrificed himself and took the hit instead. After Guts reports failure to jettison his cockpit canopy, Bishop uses his vulcan cannon to shoot it off, allowing Guts to complete ejection sequence. In the ensuing brief duel with Markov, Bishop damages Markov's Trinity missile with a head-on attack, very similar to Cipher's deadly attack while fighting Larry "Solo Wing Pixy" Foulke, before Andrei and the recently arrived Illich fled towards the west just as Hurricane Alex struck Miami. Sergei broke off and fought Bishop to buy him time to escape, only to be killed for his efforts.
Hours later, he would arrive at Washington, D.C., prepared to launch the final NRF assault. Upon successfully disrupting US air defenses around the capitol Markov moved in to use Trinity, the missile damaged by Bishop in Miami which forced Markov to move in to close range to use it. Bishop engaged Markov in one final duel, with Markov almost effortlessly brushing off Bishop, while destroying Bishop's fellow pilots and scattered ground defenses. However, despite this, he was still unable to completely shake Bishop off, and so Andrei moved in to release the Trinity on the White House, which would become his undoing. As Markov performed a Pugachev's Cobra to launch the weapon, Bishop's machine gun ripped his PAK-FA apart and shattered the canopy, throwing him out to his death.
Despite Bishop's victory, Akula successfully managed to fling the Trinity weapon towards the White House. Noticing it right after Markov's death, Bishop barely managed to force the weapon off course, making it land and detonate in the Tidal Basin.
Characteristics and personalityEdit
- "Are you coming for me, Warwolf Leader?"
- ― Markov taunting Bishop.
It is unknown what he was like before Bosnia. However, Krista's death would take a severe toll on him, for the event turned him into a cold and calculating individual. During combat, he would often taunt Bishop, whom he saw as a worthy opponent, while making sarcastic comments on both him and Gutierrez, Throughout the events of the New Russian Federation coup d'état, his primary objective was to carry out his revenge on the United States to avenge his wife's death, and did not show any loyalty towards the Russian Federation, putting his personal task before anything else. This also makes him the lone wolf of the game, flying under no flag.
He would go as far as to manipulate the remnants of Blatnoi to fly with him to the US and betray Stagleishov when he decided to end the coup, showing that he was not someone to be trusted. He was not above betraying his allies if it suited his purpose.
- Markov's Su-35S and Sukhoi PAK FA paint scheme's are identical to the real life prototypes on both his aircraft (save for the shark mouth on the nose). This could suggest that Blatnoi secretly bought or stole the prototypes of both planes and gave them to Markov, being that he is the leader of the NRF Air Forces, or it could be that Project Aces used the photos of both aircraft and painted Markov's Sharkmouth on the nose when they created the template.
- He also has the most in-battle dialogue out of any other Blatnoi/NRF member, as he can somehow hack allied communications.
- He is a counterpart to Bishop in many ways. He holds the same rank as Colonel, fought in Bosnia, and has access to the most powerful aircraft in his country's air force.
- Andrei has a resemblance to the main character of Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko Bellic.
- During development, Keiki Kobayashi planned to compose a personal song for the "Shark" trailer, tentatively called "Theme of Markov", which was described by Kobayahi as a "representation" of the character's willpower. The song was first announced in a Twitter message from Kazutoki Kono, who later disclosed its cancellation in April 20, 2011.