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This article is about an in-universe event. For the in-game mission, see Lifeline.
"Tally ho on the bogeys. There's five Yellows!
What the—?"
ISAF pilot[1]

Operation Early Bird was an air raid by ISAF aircraft on Erusea's petrochemical complex to the northeast of Comberth Harbor during the Continental War.[2]

Prelude

This would be the second part of a three-pronged operation to immobilize the powerful Aegir Fleet and prevent it from invading North Point and destroying the ISAF GHQ. The fleet's supply chain had been cut off during Operation Hunting Hawk; ISAF would now target the petrochemical complex providing fuel for the Aegir ships. With this complex destroyed, the fleet would be left unarmed, immobile, and vulnerable to attack.[3]

Summary

In the early morning hours of November 19, ISAF's pilots entered the complex's airspace and split into two groups: one would destroy the refinery/storage facility, and the other would destroy the offshore oil rigs. The refinery had little anti-air defenses, and the bombing operation proceeded without incident. The oil rigs, however, were littered with anti-air guns and SAMs. Despite this difficulty, with careful tactical bombing, the attack on the oil rig succeeded as well. There were several Erusian bandits in the airspace as well, but several ISAF planes flying top cover shot them down and protected the aircraft carrying out the ground attacks.[2]

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the complex's call for reinforcements was answered. A squadron of Su-37 Terminators entered the airspace. One of the ISAF pilots got a tally-ho and realized it was five members of the infamous Erusian Yellow Squadron. To prevent any losses, AWACS SkyEye ordered all ISAF aircraft to return to base immediately. Some of the Allied fighters failed to escape and were shot down by the Yellows, but ISAF's casualties remained minimal.[2]

Result

This raid, coupled with Operation Hunting Hawk, dealt a decisive blow to the Aegir Fleet. The Erusians lost five million barrels of reserve oil supplies and the ability to process an additional 250,000 barrels of crude oil daily. The Aegir vessels were effectively immobilized without fuel and defenseless without proper armament: the ISAF was prepared to launch an attack on Comberth Harbor. However, thanks to Yellow Squadron, ISAF lost several pilots in the operation, and hence the surviving pilots had to maximize their abilites to make up for the losses.[4]

Trivia

  • This is the first time Yellow Squadron had appeared after ISAF's mass evacuation; it would also be one of the Yellows' first long-range deployments on the east coast.

References

  1. Mission Update, Lifeline, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lifeline, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  3. Briefing, Lifeline, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  4. Debriefing, Lifeline, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.