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Breaking Arrows

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This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Aurora.

Breaking Arrows is the 14th campaign mission in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. The player must destroy a series of cruise missiles before they can cross the Return Line and escape the airspace.

Briefing

With Stonehenge out of commission, the landing operations are underway in the northern part of the mainland. In response, the Erusians have launched large numbers of cruise missiles against the ISAF landing forces. Our radar is unable to pick up these missiles that fly at ultra low altitudes. Failure to destroy these missiles will put our troops in danger. Your mission is to shoot and destroy each and every cruise missile.

Objectives

The player will begin near the top of the map, flying north. A group of five cruise missiles will be flying south, near the player's position. The player must destroy all five cruise missiles as quickly as possible before they can cross the Return Line along the southern edge of the radar. AWACS SkyEye will consistently give warnings every 10 miles as the missiles get closer.

After some of the missiles are destroyed, a wave of ten more missiles will spawn at the northern edge of the radar. As soon as the player finishes off the first wave, they must fly north again and engage this second wave. When the player begins attacking, the missiles will split into two groups, five missiles each, and assume different flight paths in an effort to slow down the player.

After all of these missiles are destroyed, one last missile spawns at the northern edge of the radar. Unlike its predecessors, this missile will fly in a seemingly random pattern to shake off the player. Two F-22A Raptors will also appear and provide cover for it. One strategy to shoot down the final missile is to predict its trajectory and fire as it reaches the "peak" of its vertical movement; QAAMs can be used to make the task significantly easier, although the missile is capable of outmaneuvering them as well. As soon as this last missile is destroyed, the mission is completed.

Named Units

Main article: Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies/Aces

  • F-22A Abell — Located to the northeast of the player's spawn point, near the northern edge of the map; hidden from radar until the player gets close (only appears on SP New Game → Normal or harder)

S Rank

Achieving an S rank on this mission requires earning 2,020 points. Destroying the missiles will only award a total of 1,700 points, so the player must earn an additional 320 points. To achieve this, the player must shoot down some combination of the following: the two F-22s (60 points each) for a total of 120 points; the XB-70 Valkyrie in the northwest corner of the radar (200 points); and/or the enemy ace (240 points). If the player cannot get the ace (whether playing on Very Easy or Easy difficulty or on the first campaign playthrough), the player must shoot down the F-22s and the XB-70, as nothing else will award the required points.

Debriefing

Goob job! There was no unnecessary loss of landing troops, and the northern coast is now secure.

Trivia

  • The name "Breaking Arrows" references the American military term "broken arrow", which is used to describe incidents involving nuclear weapons that do not risk triggering a nuclear war.
    • The use of this term in the mission's name may imply that some or all of the cruise missiles were carrying some unconventional warhead (see: below trivia on the final missile) that was never used in later stages of the war.
  • This mission is infamous in the Ace Combat community due to the difficulty of shooting down the final missile; examination of the debriefing screen reveals that it flies in an erratic zig-zag pattern.
    • The final missile is also known for the massive explosion that occurs when it is destroyed. Some have incorrectly labeled this as a nuclear explosion; however, the visual effect seems to indicate it is a burst missile. Some fans theorize that Belka or Yuktobania, who were known to use this technology, sold at least one such warhead to Erusea.
    • The shock wave effect during the final missile's explosion is the same as the shock wave from the shells that the Stonehenge Turret Network fires.
  • To shoot down the XB-70, it is highly recommended to wait until the second missile wave, at which point the XB-70 will have progressed closer to the missiles. During the first wave, the missiles and the XB-70 are too far apart; during the final missile wave, the XB-70 will be too far away or have left the combat zone entirely.
  • Even though the music changes when engaging the final missile, the Mission Update indicator does not flash. This is one of the only times, if not the only time, that this happens in the Ace Combat series.

References

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