- This article is about an in-universe event. For the in-game mission, see Heavy Command Cruiser (mission).
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The assault on the Aerial Fleet was a pivotal battle during the Emmeria-Estovakia War. Throughout the war, the P-1112 Aigaion utilized Nimbus missiles to deal major damage to Emmeria's air units; the Aigaion also allowed the Estovakian ace squadron Strigon Team to operate over a large area.
On February 20, 2016, Emmerian pilots launched their assault on the Aigaion, successfully destroying the command cruiser and her aerial warship escorts that made up the Aerial Fleet. With the Nimbus missiles neutralized and the Strigon Team forced to retreat to Gracemeria, the Emmerian military was free to resume their push towards liberating Gracemeria.
During the initial invasion of Gracemeria, Emmerian forces were pushing back the Estovakian forces until the Aigaion shot down half of Emmeria's pilots in a single Nimbus missile volley. Strigon Team launched off of the Aigaion to engage the surviving pilots. Emmeria surrendered, retreating out of Gracemeria.
The Aigaion continued attacking Emmerian forces as they retreated west, including during the Battle of San Loma. In early 2016, Emmeria began its counterattack operations; while attempting to traverse the Selumna Peaks, the Aigaion fired Nimbus missiles on the escorting air squadrons, temporarily halting their advance.
Main article: Liberation of San Loma
Emmeria collected and analyzed debris from the Selumna Peaks attack, learning how the Nimbus system works by using drones to guide the missiles, both of which are launched from the Aigaion. Emmeria's Joint Chiefs of Staff determined that the best method to eliminate the threat would be an air assault on the Aigaion. However, Emmeria had not yet retaken an air base close enough to the Aigaion to perform such an operation. They decided to retake Cavallia Air Force Base in San Loma, as its facilities could be used to set up a front line to prepare the attack.
On February 15, Emmerian forces made their push for San Loma. Estovakia had heavy military presence in the city in preparation for such an occurrence, and the Aigaion repeatedly fired on Emmeria's forces with Nimbus missiles as well. Despite the stacked odds, Emmeria's ground units, bomber squadrons, and naval power managed to destroy all Estovakian forces and recapture Cavallia and San Loma.
Emmeria continued gathering intelligence on the Aigaion. The Department of National Safety found a critical weakness in the Aigaion's design: while the command cruiser is refueling, its radar cannot detect anything directly in front of it. Emmeria planned to use this information during their assault. They also discovered information on the Aigaion's escorts: the P-1113 Kottos, which provide radar support; and the P-1114 Gyges, which act as air-to-air defenses for the Aigaion.
On February 20, Emmeria's pilots took off from Cavallia Air Force Base and flew towards the Fuscum Sea, where the Aigaion and her escorts were currently deployed. Emmeria timed the flight plan to ensure that their planes would reach the Aigaion during its refueling and just after Strigon Team completed a patrol of the area. After Strigon Team landed on the Aigaion, the Emmerian pilots began approaching at a fixed altitude and heading, directly in front of the command cruiser.
Once the Emmerian pilots came into close range of the Aigaion, a large air battle broke out: the Gyges and Kottos aerial warships began circling the Aigaion and firing on the Emmerians, who threw everything they had at the entire Aerial Fleet. Strigon Team took off again and engaged the Emmerians.
Garuda Team, particularly its flight lead, Talisman, was outperforming all other forces on both sides. Garuda shot down all Strigon pilots and slowly whittled down the defenses onboard the Gyges and Kottos. Talisman fired on the cockpits of each aerial warship, causing them to explode mid-air. Garuda and the other Emmerian pilots then focused their fire on the Aigaion, destroying all of its defenses and its engine blocks. Aigaion attempted to open all of its Nimbus gun ports and use the cruise missiles to shoot down the Emmerians, but it was a fruitless effort: Talisman destroyed the Aigaion's cockpit and its core,[note 1] causing the airframe to break apart. The Aigaion slowly broke apart and crashed into the sea.
The destruction of the P-1112 Aigaion and the Aerial Fleet dealt a massive blow to the Estovakian forces: they could no longer threaten the airspace over the Anean continent with Nimbus missiles, allowing Emmeria's air units to fly freely in further battles. Strigon Team, which was stationed onboard the Aigaion, also suffered heavy losses during the assault; Ilya Pasternak was reassigned to become the new flight lead of the squadron, which was relocated to defend Gracemeria.
Garuda Team became widely known among both Emmerian and Estovakian forces for its major part in destroying the Aerial Fleet. The squadron received a letter of commendation from Emmeria's Joint Chiefs of Staff for its "invaluable service" during the assault. Conversely, Estovakia viewed Talisman as a major threat to their war effort, and tasked Pasternak with eliminating him.
- ↑ Invasion of Gracemeria, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ The Aerial Fleet. Retrieved on 6 October 2017.
- ↑ Selumna Peak, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 San Loma Assault, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Heavy Command Cruiser, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Campaign -> Gallery -> Scene Viewer -> Scene 11, "Changing of the Guard", Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.