- "Attention all aircraft. This rocket launch is critical. Maintain air superiority until launch is complete."
- ―Comona Base
Operation: Countdown, also known as the Battle of Comona Islands, was one of the largest air-to-air battles in history. It involved ISAF's launch of a rocket satellite amidst Erusian air superiority during the Usean Continental War.
In the winter of 2004, as it continued to reclaim ground around the eastern extremities of Usea, ISAF hatched a plan to launch a recon satellite into space in order to provide vital tactical data to its units for an impending invasion. This would be done using the Riass Space Launch Facility on the Comona Islands, which ISAF had recently reclaimed from the Erusians.
The presence of Stonehenge made the deployment of recon aircraft to the mainland impossible, so the success of the satellite's launch was crucial to the success of the ISAF war effort. The Erusians understood this just as well as ISAF did, scrambling as many fighters as they could, including the famous 156th Tactical Fighter Wing's "Yellow Squadron," to intercept and destroy the satellite before it had a chance to launch. Anticipating this response and having only one window of opportunity to launch the rocket, ISAF called upon its own air forces to defend the skies above the rocket and secure a successful launch.
By the time ISAF was able to send its remaining air units as backup for the ISAF pilots already at the combat area, the air battle was already in full swing. Yellow Squadron was effortlessly picking off ISAF pilots one by one, and the skies above the facility were tangled with the missiles, bullets and smoke of countless aircraft. However, in a notable act that everyone had caught wind of, Mobius One damaged Yellow 13's aircraft. Yellow Squadron decided to pull out and retreat northwest, returning to the mainland and leaving the remaining Erusian fighters to fend for themselves.
Shortly after the retreat of the Yellow Squadron, the tide of the battle had turned in ISAF's favor. The pilots, no longer under the threat of Yellows, were now able to take down the other pilots quickly.
Suddenly, B-2 bombers were detected approaching the base from the west. Mobius One decided to turn west and attack the bombers, since his allies had their hands full in the furball. He managed to quickly take all of the bombers down in time for the rocket to launch.
- "Rocket has reached 40,000 feet. It is now immune to enemy action."
- ―Comona Base
By the time the satellite's rocket entered its final countdown sequence, the skies were mostly clear of Erusian fighters, with only a handful remaining. Soon, the rocket ignited, and the satellite was on its way to the stratosphere. With the ability to perform recon from space, ISAF could now concentrate on its invasion of the mainland of Usea.
- The operation area resembles Florida. The long bridge and the airbase resemble Key West, whereas the launch facility resembles Cape Canaveral.
- Operation: Battle-Axe was thought to be the largest air-to-air battle in history until Operation: Countdown. The title was then taken by the dogfight during the Invasion of Gracemeria.