- This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Noah's Ark.
Escort is the 11th campaign mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, and the last mission before the game's first climactic moment.
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 more fast-paced and demanding than previous missions. The main focus is to protect two civilian aircraft (Air Ixiom Flights 701 and 702, flying at 6,000 and 23,000 feet respectively) from enemy fire. In most instances, the first enemy fighter pursuing Flt. 702 will land a successful hit before the player can reach the airliner. Shooting down this fighter or taking too long to do so will cause the next wave of fighters, consisting of two aircraft, to spawn around Flight 701.
After shooting down this second wave of fighters, a third wave, consisting of three fighters, will appear around Flt. 702. After shooting these down, the fourth and final wave - consisting of four additional fighters - will swarm Flight 701.
The mission is accomplished when either all of the enemy aircraft are shot down, or the two civilian aircraft safely cross the Return Line. The mission fails if either aircraft suffers too many hits (about two or three, depending on the difficulty).
Obtaining an S rank on this mission requires scoring 600 points. Since each enemy aircraft awards 60 points, and a total of 10 fighters spawn during the mission, the player must simply shoot down all of the enemies to earn the S rank. The only challenge is doing so before the airliners cross the Return Line.
Main article: Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies/Aces
- Su-35 Neujmin — Appears in the southeast corner of the map (only under SP New Game → Normal or harder). To avoid the loss of the civilian aircraft, it is best to wait to shoot down Neujmin until after most of the fourth wave of fighters has been dispatched.
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.
- As part of a running gag, Flight 701's First Officer Nagase shares her name with other characters named Nagase in the Ace Combat series. However, she pronounces her name as "na-GAH-say" rather than "na-gah-SAY" as it is pronounced 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 could imply that the Nagase from the Usean Continental War is the same Nagase in this mission.
- Due to their shared name, some AC fans erroneously believe that the Nagase in this mission is the same Kei Nagase from Ace Combat 5; this is impossible however, as Kei was 23 in 2010, making her around 17-18 in 2005—far too young to be a first officer.
- Despite the mission taking place within Stonehenge's engagement zone, the STN does not fire upon the civilian airliners. There area a myriad of possible reasons for this; however, the most probable is that this was a covert operation performed by the Erusians to shoot down the civilian aircraft and avoid generating an international incident.