- "Erusian fighters are closing in on us at 23,000 ft. Please hurry!"
- ― Captain of Air Ixiom Flight 702
"Escort" is the eleventh mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, and the last mission before the climax of the game.
Two civilian aircraft flying through the hills region northwest of Los Canas are under threat of attack by Erusian fighters. On board are the engineers responsible for Stonehenge, as well as their families. They are offering information in exchange for amnesty and permission to defect to an ISAF member state. One of the aircraft is flying at an extremely low altitude due to some unknown problem. Your mission is to protect both aircraft from enemy fighters. Make sure they exit the combat area safely.
This mission is a bit more fast-paced and demanding than previous missions. The main focus of the mission is to protect the two civilian aircraft (Air Ixiom Flight 702 flying at 23,000 feet, Flight 701 at 6,000 feet) from enemy fire. In most instances, the first enemy fighter chasing Flt. 702 solo will make a successful hit before the player manages to arrive. Shooting down this fighter or taking too long to do so will cause the next wave of fighters - two of them - to spawn around Flight 701.
After shooting down the second wave of fighters, a third wave will show up, this time of three fighters surrounding Flight 702. After shooting these down, the fourth and final wave - this time of four fighters - will swarm Flight 701.
The mission is deemed a success when all enemy aircraft are shot down or the two civilian aircraft manage to cross the Return Line. The mission fails if either of the aircraft take too many hits (about two or three, possibly depending on difficulty).
Obtaining an S rank in this mission is quite simple. 600 points are required, and each enemy aircraft awards 60 points. Since only 10 fighters spawn, obtaining an S rank pretty much means that the player must shoot down all enemies. The only challenge is doing so before the aircraft reach the Return Line.
The sole ace in this mission is Neujmin (named after Grigory Neujmin), flying an Su-35 Super Flanker. He appears on the southeastern corner of the map. It would be best to shoot down Neujmin until after the fourth wave of enemy fighters (and after most of the wave is shot down) to prevent the loss of the civilian aircraft.
All passengers and crew from both aircraft were examined by an ISAF medical officer and are in good health. Several states are coming forward with offers of amnesty to the defectors and their families.
- Flight 701's First Officer Nagase shares her name with other Nagase's in the Ace Combat series as a running gag. However, here, it is pronounced "na-GAH-see" rather than "na-gah-SAY" in other games.
- The official biography of Kei Nagase from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy states that "she dreams of being a commercial airline pilot." This hints that the Nagase from the Usean Rebellion is the same Nagase in this mission.
- Despite some believing that the Nagase in this mission is the same as Kei Nagase from Ace Combat 5, this is not possible as Kei was 23 in 2010, making her 17-18 in 2005, far too young to be a first officer.
- Despite the mission taking place well within Stonehenge's engagement range, the turret network does not engage the civilian airliners. There could be a myriad of reasons for this; however, the most probable is that this was likely a covert operation performed by the Erusians to shoot down the civilian aircraft in secret. Had Stonehenge been utilized, it would have alerted civilians on the ground and raised questions.