Initially, two mercenary pilots who fly on behalf of Ustio. A third later transfers in from another mercenary unit after Pixy's defection to A World with No Boundaries.Tropes that apply to Galm Team as a whole:
Ace Pilot: All three, but especially Cipher and Pixy.
Even from the first mission, its made clear that Cipher is already a well respected mercenary by the time of the war, though this opening dialogue changes depending on what type of ace he is at the game's start.
From Nobody to Nightmare: He starts out as just another mercenary pilot, though Pixy notes on their first mission together that "he had potential." He ends up as, well, "The Demon Lord of the Round Table."
Good Is Not Nice/ Good Is Not Soft: When talking about Cipher, the Indigo Squadron leader compares him to the old knights of Belka, and states this about them, assuming Cipher acts the same way. Whether he does or not is up to the player's interpretation.
Louis Cypher: Sort of. "Cipher" name-checks the second element, he's nicknamed "Demon Lord of the Round Table," and he leads a squadron that flies under the Number of the Beast and is named for a mythological Hellhound.
Genius bonus also kicks in, when one realizes that the team's symbol is a hell hound, and one common appellation for mercenaries in real life is "Dogs of War"—which may also be a reference to the Wardog Squadron, one of Zero's countless allusions to Ace Combat 5.
Pragmatic Hero: The Soldier Ace path characterizes him as this — his main goal is to defeat the enemy, and while he doesn't go out of his way to cause collateral damage like a Mercenary Ace, he's willing to Shoot the Dog if it gives him the advantage over his opponent.
Professional Killer: Is a mercenary, comes with the territory. How much this is played up is up to you.
Punch Clock Hero: Being a mercenary, it isn't hard to see Cipher as this. Once again, whether he is one is up to you.
Red Baron: He's "The Demon Lord of the Round Table."
Skilled, but Naive: More than one enemy Ace characterizes Cipher as young and inexperienced, but Cipher's natural skill allows him to triumph over veteran pilots.
"Damn mercenaries, haven't you already earned enough!"
Terror Hero: By virtue of becoming The Dreaded. No matter how you play Cipher, this is ultimately what he will always become. Playing more like a mercenary just pushes him slightly closer to this. Alongside Ace Combat 5, this is probably the most triumphant example of this trope in the series.
"While you're up here 'fighting for peace', tons of blood is being shed on the ground. Some 'peace' kid."
—Pixy, getting fed up with what he sees as PJ's self-righteous attitude
The second member of Galm Team, a mercenary pilot like Cipher, and the best Ustian aerial ace until his arrival. He seems to have a profound respect for Cipher's skill, regardless of which Ace path he takes. He defects to A World with No Boundaries after losing faith in the Allies' cause and also serves as the game's final boss. Being defeated by Cipher causes him to reevaluate his beliefs, and in the game's present day he's still fighting other people's wars.
The Atoner: Most likely the reason he's still out there fighting for seemingly lost causes.
Broken Ace: While he was never exactly an idealist, the destruction of Hoffnung and Belka subsequently nuking its own cities to stop the Allied advance seem to utterly crush what little faith he had in the way the world works. He eventually gets better, but he has to go through another whole different ringer first.
Continuity Nod: Clues in the epilogue indicate that after the Belkan War, he ended up on the Usean continent, fighting for ISAF against Erusea in the same conflict as Mobius One.
Deuteragonist: While Cipher's undoubtedly the main focus of the story, Pixy has a major role as his first wingman and his final opponent. A good chunk of what we know about Cipher comes from what he tells us, and Pixy's own actions help drive the plot, especially towards the end.
Dirty Business: His attitude towards war in general and his job specifically, at least at first.
Evil All Along: Dialogue between Wizard and Pixy early in the game indicates both are already members of A World With No Boundaries long before Pixy makes his defection apparent.
Fallen Hero: He goes from one half of the greatest Ace Pilot team of the war to an utterly disillusioned extremist willing to plunge the world into chaos by the end of the story. He does eventually recover, though.
Famed in Story: Is already famous as "Solo-Wing Pixy" by the time the story starts, among both enemies and allies alike. As the story continues, however, his fame is overshadowed by Cipher's infamy.
Fashionable Asymmetry: As applied to a Cool Plane's custom paint job. The right wing of his F-15 is painted red, in reference to the same incident that gave him his nickname. This is also carried over to the prototype Morgan he hijacks after joining A World with No Boundaries.
Heel Realization: After being shot down by Cipher, he comes to the conclusion that while "a world with no boundaries" might be an admirable goal in itself, bringing down the world's governments isn't going to change human nature overnight.
Knight in Sour Armor: Essentially what he ends up as after the Belkan War. He knows from painful experience that humans are capable of being complete and utter bastards, but most people just want to get on with their lives, and humanity as a whole is something worth fighting for.
Overshadowed by Awesome: He starts the war as Ustio's best fighter ace, but Cipher ends up outclassing him by at least an order of magnitude. Conclusively hammered home in the final battle, when Cipher shoots him down.
Crow Team's Number Three, he is an idealistic fighter pilot who believes himself to be fighting to end the war. After Pixy's disappearance following the seven nuclear attacks, he becomes Cipher's wingman until the end of the game, being shot down by Pixy just before the final battle.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: His last words before he gets shot down by Pixy?"DANG IT!" Notable for being the only time P.J. loses his cool; he also sounds genuinely furious, not like he's toning down his language.
Motor Mouth: Subverted on your first mission together. He gets a bit chatty at the start, rambling about how he likes to play polo and such, but then catches himself with a sheepish "maybe we should get going now" and focuses on the mission.
Taking the Bullet: It looks like PJ does this for the player, but wasn't intentional. He was actually just trying to shift into the proper wingman position after hearing that another enemy is coming and by pure chance took the blast aimed at that very moment at you.
The good guys (supposedly,it can be hard to tell), made up of the Osean Federation, Yuktobania, Sapin, Ustio, and several other minor nations. Were attacked by Belka in a war of aggression and all took the time to gang up on the rogue nation and make them pay for centuries of bad blood. Were shocked by Belka nuking itself, turning Osea in particular into the spineless nation it was during Ace Combat 5.
The proud Belkan Air Force, based on the German Luftwaffe from World War II (and commonly called the Belkan Luftwaffe as a result). Characterized as honorable, consummate professionals, who just so happen to be fighting for the wrong side.
Consummate Professional: The Belkan air force as a whole is seen as being this, similar to how the German Luftwaffe in World War II was viewed. This contributes to the Belkan Air Force's disdain towards mercenaries.
Fantastic Racism: Not by the pilots themselves but by their high command. It is heavily implied that the ultranationalistic government of Belka kept foreign-born Belkan aces under-promoted.
Glory Days: Detlef Fleicher (Rot One) especially, but they all to some extent regard their military careers like this, some just hide it better than others. Its shown that Belka as a whole was pining for this, starting the war in the first place to revive these.
My Country, Right or Wrong: Generally characterized this way (with the exception of Schwarze Team), fighting for their nation out of pride for its heritage and past greatness, even if the war is one of aggression. None of them speak about the nuclear attacks, possibly out of shame, but up till that point, they had no problems fighting for their country.
Officer and a Gentleman: All of the Belkan aces (except Dominic Zubov) carry themselves like this, but Rot One and Indigo One especially. Truth in television, as the German air force in both world wars held themselves to a pretty high standard, and during WWI, even upheld chivalry.
Retired Badass: All of the Belkan Air Force members post-war, even those with great pre-war military careers, with the implication that the Belkan Air Force was disbanded, similar to what happened to post-both World Wars Germany.
52nd Tactical Fighter Squadron "Rot"
One of the most famous squadrons within the Belkan Air Force. They commonly fought with a high sense of pride for their homeland. Their flight leader, Detlef Fleisher, nicknamed the "Red Swallow" is commonly seen as the poster boy for the Belkan Air Force.
Worf Had The Flu: Gelb 2 mentions in his interview that his squad would often be sent from one mission to another without even any basic maintenance on their planes. Combined with being one of only two ace squadrons that don't outnumber you, this is why the player can easily take them out despite them flying Su-37 Terminators, a late-game plane for the player, just a third of the way into the game. note It's also a Call Forward to Ace Combat 04: "Gelb" is German for "yellow," and Yellow Squadron in that game was plagued by similar problems.
6th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Schwarze"
A Fate Worse Than Death: Dominic seems to indicate that, for soldiers like him and Galm Team, surviving and having to live in the world after the war is the worst fate possible for them, and one they fully deserve.
Covert Group: Subverted. Schwarze is well known to friend and foe as "those mercenaries working for Belka", but killing traitors and cowards was only their public mission. They had "other" duties as well that they carried out in secret of unknown parameters, but it's implied they were something like this.
Dangerous Deserter: Inverted: they are Dangerous Deserter Killers. That said, it's subverted after the war, in that they desert and flee the country, becoming war criminals.
Hide the Evidence: What Belka did regarding information about the missions Schwarze carried out, once Belka's loss became certain.
The Laws and Customs of War: Pretty much have license to ignore these. For example, they have the unconditional authority to attack on sight and at will, which is a war crime.
Legion of Lost Souls: Dominic Zubov pretty much founded Schwarze to be the Belkan Air Force's version of this.
Not So Different: Dominic Zubov sees this as the case between him, Cipher, and Pixy.
The Political Officer: Is an air force take on this. Their job is (usually) to execute deserters, defectors, and cowards and maintain air force discipline.
Professional Killer: They are the only mercenaries flying for Belka, and are essentially seen as this.
Red Baron: Dominic was initially called "The Vulture" for being a glorified hit man for Belka, and later gained a new nickname once he went on the run: "Escapee Killer".
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Averted. Despite surviving a battle that drove every other survivor insane because of its suicidal and genocidal nature, Dominic Zubov not only retained his sanity, but later went to work for Belka as a mercenary. Even today, he seems perfectly sane, if a little dark.
Shrouded in Myth: Absolutely nothing is known about much of the squadron, including its members, because of the destruction of public records regarding them.
Sociopathic Soldier: All of them, but especially Dominic Zubov, who, in the fluff, survived a war that devolved into genocide and suicidal battles.
Token Evil Teammate: The most antagonistic Belkan pilots in the game, and some of them aren't even Belkan.
Weapon of Choice: Schnee 1 through 4 use F-14D's and typically use Sniper tactics with Schnee Five (who uses the EA-6B) to blind you so you would not see the missiles coming.
Worthy Opponent: Sees Cipher as this, so much so he couldn't wait to get back in the air and spent days walking to the nearest air field instead of waiting for pickup. He still never got to fight him again.
Mandatory Unretirement: Team leader Dietrich Kellerman's career actually ended in the 80s and he was retired before the war. He was brought out of retirement to bolster troop morale.
Old Master: A rare ace pilot example of this trope. Kellerman was still able to put up a good fight despite his age being above fighter pilot norm. He was also founder of the Kellerman Institution, which trained some of Belka's best pilots.
Passing the Torch: Kellerman sees Cipher's appearance, and his shooting down him and his entire squad, as his cue to do this.
Weak, but Skilled: Silber One, who uses an F-4E Phantom II and is much more skilled than everyone else in his squadron, despite them using F-16C's.
Skilled, but Naive: In the same vein, the pilots flying under Silber One are all rookies, but they all show great skill in combat.
A World with No Boundaries
A terrorist organization, formed from the members of the militaries of all the involved belligerent nations. They are striving for a world without borders, believing they cause conflict.
Multinational Team: Has members from Belka, Osea, Ustio, Sapin, Yuktobania, and possibly other nations as well. All are unified behind a common goal.
Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Palmer is one of the few survivors of not only his team but of A World With No Boundaries as a whole.
The Dragon: Both fighter captains Palmer and Bristow can be seen as this to Anton Kupchenko, acting as the face of their organization.
"Get Out of Jail Free" Card: In an interesting turn of events Anthony Palmer gets this, but not Marcus Bristow, who ends up in prison. Palmer somehow avoids jail time and becomes an insurance salesman.
Scary Black Man: Anthony Palmer. Subverted, in that it's Palmer who ends up scared.
Weapon of Choice: When you fight alongside then in Mission 10, they use the F/A-18C. When you fight them as opponents however, Sorcerer uses the F-15S/MTD Eagle, while Wizard has half his team use F-16XL's while the other half, include the flight leader Bristow, uses the YF-23A Stealth Fighter.
What Is This Feeling?: Palmer almost says this word for word when fighting Cipher, as the young mercenary engenders a strange reaction from him. He soon realizes exactly what it is he is feeling: fear.
5th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Gault"
Anti-Villain: Ultimately, Anton's heart is in the right place, but his methods of getting his results are abhorrent.
Clock King: Anton Kupchenko runs his squadron like one, as the Enemy Chatter during the fight with Gault demonstrates that his pilots have been trained to fly in specific patterns to exploit enemy weaknesses.
Posthumous Character: Not in the game per se, but in the Framing Device of the documentary about Cipher, Kupchenko is the one ace who isn't interviewed because he died at B7R. The "interview" section for him consists of camera shots of his tombstone's epitaph.
"The table is surrounded by politicians who have never placed a foot on the battlefield. It's a disgusting squabble over who gets the largest piece of the pie, and that's why it needs to end. It is for that duty we raised the King. That's why we're fighting."