Before the two planes take off, capture both of them in one shot. Got it?
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- This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Countdown.
Shattered Skies is the eighth campaign mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. This is a large-scale air-to-air operation that requires the player to take part in a massive dogfight between the ISAF and Erusian air forces.
A recon satellite will be launched from the Comona Islands rocket base to support our mainland operations. The Erusians responded by deploying a large number of their air-superiority fighters to prevent the launch. A large-scale air battle is expected. We must win this battle to maintain our air superiority. We've only got one window of opportunity for this launch. Shoot down as many fighters as possible to preserve top cover over the rocket base.
The mission starts with the player flying into a group of oncoming Erusian fighters. After a few minutes, the commander of the facility will report how many minutes are left until launch. He will update this time limit from then onward. In the first part of the mission, the player must shoot down as many aircraft as possible in order to score enough points. How many points are necessary depends on the player's selected difficulty. The more difficult, the more points required.
Yellow Squadron makes its second appearance in this mission. In the first part of the mission, they appear as optional targets; the player, however, cannot shoot down a Yellow, but merely damages one. After a Yellow is damaged, the entire squadron retreats from the airspace. If the player has shot down enough aircraft when the timer expires, the second part of the mission will begin.
SkyEye will report a squadron of B-2A Spirit bombers is inbound. One of your wingmen will dispute this, saying that he doesn't see anything on radar. SkyEye insists however, that the B-2s are difficult to detect on radar because of their stealth ability. The player must then fly to the western edge of the map and intercept these bombers before they can attack the facility.
Once the bombers are shot down, the player must simply down as many more aircraft as possible until the game clock runs out. Once the timer reaches 0 and the rocket is launched, the mission is complete.
Achieving an S rank on this mission requires aggressive piloting skills and a fast aircraft. The threshold for an S rank is around 2,900 points, which is only possible if the player shoots down fighters at a constant pace. It is also strongly recommended that the player destroy the various high-value aircraft in the airspace: an E-767, an SR-71 Blackbird and a KC-10 Extender. Landing a hit on a Yellow Squadron fighter also provides a slightly higher point reward.
Main article: Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies/Aces
- F/A-18C Vaisala — Appears over the large island to the east of the rocket base (only under SP New Game → Normal or harder)
The rocket launch proceeded smoothly and all systems are go. Preparations for providing our troops with vital tactical data is now complete.