A list of characters who first appeared in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
The protagonist of the game who starts as a pilot of the Osean Air Force's 508th Mage Squadron. His initial callsign was Mage 2, and when he was transferred to a penal unit known as the the 444th Spare Squadron following a rescue mission gone wrong, he is given the callsign Spare 15. After being pardoned, he is re-designated as Strider 1, leading the newly formed Strider Squadron.
- Accidental Murder: During Operation Lighthouse Keeper, Trigger aims at a drone harassing the rescue plane he's protecting, only for the drone to dodge the missile, which hits and destroys Ex-President Vincent Harling's plane instead. Harling does not make it out alive from that explosion, and the operation ends in total failure, with Trigger being arrested under suspicions of assassination and subsequently transferred to the penal squadron, the 444th. A Erusean defector later reveals that a Erusean drone faking an Osean IFF signal shot down Harling, something that Trigger had no control over and subverting the trope because the murderer is a drone disguised as an ally and not Trigger.
- Ace Pilot: As with any protagonist in an Ace Combat game, he becomes bar none the most skilled pilot in the story. Throughout your adventures, you get to pull insane feats like dogfighting in a thunderstorm (even getting your aircraft hit by lightning once and still going on) and performing the series-long tradition of a tunnel flight with the added bonus of doing a vertical tunnel flight that's encumbered by gravity and wind!
- Appropriated Appelation: While he doesn't speak, so we can't know if he literally calls himself "the Three Strikes", when he transfers out of the 444th, he appropriates the three strikes he had been given as a prisoner as a claw tearing three jagged scratches.
- The Dreaded: His mere presence is enough to demoralize Erusean forces. It's even hinted at that Erusean forces in one mission are suffering from morale problems due solely to the fact that their command mentioned Three Strikes in their briefing. During Operation Daredevil, a coalition-allied Erusean exclaims that being allied with the Three Strikes is the best news he's ever heard in a long time.Erusean Fighter (Ally): Against Three Strikes? Uh-uh, never again.
- Featureless Protagonist: Par for the course for a Ace Combat protagonist who is not William Bishop, no details are given aside from the fact that Trigger is a guy. He is only referred to by his TAC name, his various callsigns and the nickname "Three Strikes" (derived from the three "Sin Lines" or "scratches" placed on his plane's tail after he is assigned to the 444th Fighter Squadron "Spare", denoting the severity of his crime that he was falsely convicted of and standing out compared to the other pilots, who are one or two scratch offenders). Trigger can actually be seen at one point, during the briefing for Mission 10; as the briefing closes, a number of pilots can be seen in the reflection of the screen. As they get up to leave, McKinsey addresses Trigger, and one of the pilots can be seen turning around, but, much like the famed photo of Blaze in Ace Combat 5, a popup window on the computer takes that exact moment to show up on the screen and obscure the reflection before Trigger's face can be fully seen.
- The Hero: Its his actions that ultimately stop the war. The Osean forces even see him as this and eventually the Erusean forces do as well.
- Hope Bringer: As with previous protagonists, Trigger becomes this for the Oseans and the Conservative Eruseans as well. Best exemplified in the final mission when Rosa Cossette DElise calls him a beacon of light in a world of darkness.Cossette: Can you hear me? Were all waiting. A world of darkness needs a light to shine. Were all waiting, for that beacon of light!
- Hot-Blooded: Downplayed due to Trigger being a Silent Protagonist, but Avril describes him as a "hot dog" due to his aggressive piloting nearly burning out the engines of his jet, and after the LRSSG completes all of their sealed orders and are unable to receive further orders, but come up with an objective to bring the war closer to a close, everyone else expresses that they wish they could go home, but Húxiān observes that Trigger is still raring to go for the mission they've come up with for themselves. The game will even try to get the player to act like this; in the first mission, priority targets will appear on the radar with little prompt, but shortly after the squadron leader will chide Trigger for flying off after them, indicating you are supposed to immediately turn towards them upon their appearance. Trigger's gungho-ness is a somewhat unique quality compared to other player characters such as Mobius 1 (the feared legendary ISAF pilot), Blaze (the mysterious leader of Razgriz squadron, pillar of the Osean Air Force) and Cipher (the Belkan war's Demon Lord of the Round Table, known as either either an honorable knight, a pragmatic soldier or a ruthless mercenary), who have no such trait aside for their ungodly skill as pilots.
- Immune to Fate: Discussed. When Alex runs a simulation to determine how an engagement between Trigger and Torres would play out, it fails, with Alex suggesting that Torres is a singularity. When David suggests that Trigger might also be a singularity, Alex dismisses it at first, until David gives her Triggers flight data from before he joined the LRSSG. This leads to Alex to determine that Trigger is indeed a singularity, and says that it would take months before she would able to run an accurate simulation between Trigger and Torres.
- Miscarriage of Justice: He gets falsely convicted of murdering former President Harling, despite the evidence being circumstantial at best, more or less boiling down to "The missile came from a friendly plane and Trigger was the closest."
- One-Man Army: As is usually the case with the player character in an Ace Combat game, he takes out countless enemies. Even his allies acknowledge the Osean war effort relies heavily on him.
- Phrase Catcher: After proving to be instrumental in completing missions after missions and getting his allies back alive, his wingmen invent the phrase "Stick with Trigger and you'll make it", believing that if they stick close with Trigger, they'll make it out of any situation alive, becoming their Survival Mantra in the process.
- Reassignment Backfire: He was sent to the Spare Squadron by high command in the hopes that he would be killed in a suicide mission. He instead becomes one of Oseas best pilots after surviving an engagement with Mihaly, and becomes instrumental in bringing an end to the war.
- Red Baron: Becomes known as the three strikes/scratches, due to the distinct markings on his plane. Its to the point even Mihalys granddaughter is able to identity him solely by the three strikes on his aircraft.
- The Rival: What Mihaly comes to view him as. It gets to the point he seems to enjoy their encounters.
- Silent Protagonist: In true Ace Combat fashion, he never says a word. However, reactions from characters seem to imply he can be reckless and eager to fight. Even Avril describes him as a hot dog after noticing he nearly burns out his plane's engine several times.
- Weapon of Choice: Anything the player chooses to fly will be this to him.
- Worthy Opponent: Mihaly seems to regard him as such, even telling his granddaughters about him.
Osean Air Defense Force
Avril "Scrap Queen" Mead
Spare Squadron's tomboyish mechanic and one of the story's narrative leads. Originally attempting to take flight in a F-104C she took years to repair, she finds herself arrested by the Osean military for unauthorized wartime flight and is subsequently thrown in the 444th, where her mechanic skills earn her the nickname "Scrap Queen".
- Ace Custom: She can't fly any custom planes due to her punishment and her injury, but Avril can refurbish mothballed planes to the point that they fly as good as (if not outright better than) brand new planes. After Operation Two-Pairs, she gives Trigger's plane an overhaul, which grants you the "Queen's Custom", an upgrade that significantly improves your plane's overall performance at a low upgrade cap cost.
- Those who pre-ordered Ace Combat 7 will have access to the very same F-104 Avril worked on in the beginning of the story. It is completely unarmed and is only available to fly in Free Flight mode.
- Action Survivor: Despite not being a trained soldier, she manages to survive when everything goes to hell and hold her own. She even manages to save the Princess in a combat zone, make her way to the lighthouse, and help Trigger end the war. Keep in mind she does all this with a partial limp from a leg injury, caused from being shot down in a plane during the opening.
- Boyish Short Hair: Tops off her tomboyish look to go with her personality.
- Character Tics: She has a habit of rubbing her right thumb over her index finger when contemplative.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: To Trigger. Their interactions go from her taking an interest in him, but keeping her distance. By the end of the game, she's giggling and joking with him, even asking to know what sky looks like.note Its fairly obvious that she has feelings for Trigger, though it isn't clear if these are truly romantic feelings in nature.
- Deuteragonist: Plays this role to Trigger's protagonist. She serves as the main narrator for the Osean side. It is also her actions that have the most impact to both the plot and Trigger. The game also both opens and closes with her.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Specifically her skills as a mechanic. Her named part, The Queen's Custom, gives a big boost to overall engine performance after she notices Trigger burns out his plane nearly every mission. It's quite powerful being locked to campaign mode only. As it boosts multiple stats, there's no reason not to take it for every mission.
- Handicapped Badass: Nothing too severe or permanent, but during the beginning of the game she sustains a leg injury from the crash of her F-104 that leaves her in a leg brace with a pronounced limp for the rest of the game. She doesn't allow this to slow her down or cool her attitude, however.
- Lady Swears-a-Lot: She's one of the most foul-mouthed characters in the game, repeatedly using terms like "shithole" and "dumbass" when she narrates; the latter even becomes an appellation for Trigger given she views him as a reckless fool. She definitely took after her late grandfather and his friends, who taught her everything she knew about being a mechanic—and a few dirty jokes.
- Raised by Dudes: She was raised by her grandfather and his pilot buddies. She learned everything about her mechanical skills from them — along with a few dirty jokes.
- Shorttank: Her design down pat, with a tomboyish haircut, somewhat masculine interests and a tank top that also shows part of her midriff.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Princess Cossette's Girly Girl after Avril saves Cossette from a combat zone. Avril has always admired Cossette, with her often listening to Cossette's speeches during her time as a convict, and the two become fast friends once they travel together.
- Tsundere: This tends to be her usual demeanor. Mostly seen with Trigger, who she affectionately calls Dumbass...even singling him out in a message addressed to all pilots.
- Wrench Wench: She rebuilt an F-104C from a boneyard and is known as the Scrap Queen in Spare Squadron's base. The named Spare pilots wonder how Avril manages to turn any mothballed aircraft into war-winning machines, even equating her talent to magic.
- You Remind Me of X: She first takes an interest in Trigger after Trigger holds off an enemy ace while covering the rest of the formation's retreat. Her father died doing something similar, causing Avril to grow up resenting him for it, and hearing Trigger did the same causes her to call him "Dumbass", but she resolves to keep an eye on him.
A pilot in Spare Squadron convicted of fraud, callsign Spare 2. Arrogant and self-assured, he has a habit of making bodycount competitions with his fellow pilots, as well as inflating the numbers to make himself look good.
- Accidental Murder: Due to either incompetence or malice or desperation on Bandog's part (all voiced members of Spare lean towards the malice explanation), Count is tricked into shooting down Full Band after Bandog flagged Full Band as a hostile in Count's Heads-Up Display when Spare is regrouping from Erusea's spoofing of Osean IFF codes. Bandog claims its an accident while Spare Squadron thinks he did it out of malice to stop the most insubordinate remaining pilot (Champ having been KIA in a previous operation), though Full Band was talking opsec breaching info on the open channel and Bandog may have done it intentionally to protect the rest of Spare. Count is angry with Bandog regardless of the true circumstances.
- Ace Pilot: Not to the extent of Trigger's status as this, but close. He's the only other penal unit member that is transferred to the LRSSG due to his skill, and the other members of the squadron come to respect him.
- This especially stands out in the DLC missions, where his AI is improved.
- Story-wise, he's the only named pilot in the LRSSG who was never forced down by anything less powerful than the Final Boss, as well as the only pilot who is crazy enough to join Trigger in the tunnel flight at the final mission- and not only that, he was good enough to survive.
- Always Someone Better: Initially views Trigger's achievements with jealousy, he eventually comes to terms with the fact that he can never be Trigger's equal. Best shown in the ending where after he landed his plane underneath the space elevator, he tells Húxiān that it's his fate to watch Trigger from down below.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. Very self-assured of his skills as a pilot, but given that he's among the few pilots able to keep up with Trigger, it's more than empty boasting.
- Body-Count Competition: Something he constantly tries to engage the other prisoners in the 444th Squadron in while in the air, and the one of the sources of his callsign. AWACS Bandog calls him out for faking his number of kills, having kept track of Count's score and Trigger's score so far as numbers of downed drones are concerned. He slowly grows out of this once he joins the LRSSG.
- Break the Haughty: He starts off pretty arrogant. He proclaims himself "squadron leader" of Spare Squadron as well as barking out orders to others, and insults Trigger's achievements by claiming that it was just pure luck. Several missions later, Trigger proves himself to be so much better than he could ever be, and Count has a very hard time accepting this. AWACS Bandog, himself an unlikable Jerkass, tells Count to stop holding Trigger in contempt and to start thinking about how to improve himself. After the two join official squadrons in the LRSSG, things come to a head during the Battle of Farbanti, where Wiseman—Count's new squadron leader—is shot down by Mihaly. Count suddenly finds himself in command of the squadron and is ordered to help Trigger engage Mister X, only to find that he can't do it. He wrongly assumed he knows better than others, but in the end, he can't actually do anything without relying on others who are actually better than him for help. After this event, his arrogance tones down significantly, and he finally comes to terms with the fact that Trigger is really better than him, and that he can't simply leave the battle to the others all the time.
- Brick Joke: Count's regular radio which he kept from his Spare Squadron days, while useful during the chaos of Mission 16, is used to hilarious effect during Operation Daredevil. It's how he can overhear Avril telling Cossette to smash the devices to the Arsenal Bird's remote energy source, using that to appear to talk the massive aircraft's microwave shields down. After Húxiān asks him what kind of magic he did to bring the shields down, Count admits that it was a scam on his part, not magic.
- Catchphrase: Tends to say "Righto" when acknowledging a command from his superiors.
- Character Development:
- He starts off as a selfish Jerkass (he's the thief Avril mentions in her narration), who cares mostly about himself, tries to take command of Spare the instant he's able to, and even then tends to abandon his squad when things get hot. However, as the game goes on, he starts to care about his squadmates, and becomes a more reliable pilot and wingman. By the end, he is one of Trigger's closest allies.
- He spends much of the 444 arc ragging on Trigger, calling him "murderer" instead of his proper callsign for his supposedly accidental assasination of President Harling. However, after he finds himself in the same position, accidentally killing Full Band due to IFF meddling, he never refers to Trigger as "murderer" ever again. Later in the game, when it comes out that the Eruseans killed Harling with hacked IFFs and decoy drones, he's both stunned and relieved to hear that Trigger at least is actually innocent.
- Count starts out hostile to a lot of people: Trigger (who outclasses him), Wiseman (his commanding officer), the pilots of Sol Squadron (the Quirky Miniboss Squad — with a side of It's Personal after Wiseman is shot down). However, as he mellows (see above), he gets over his grudges, and shows genuine remorse if any of the above are slain.
- Initially, he's less concerned about the allies that Spare Squadron is ordered to assist than he is about surviving (and taking credit). By the time Strider Squadron moves to Tyler Island, however, he's more concerned about helping the Osean Forces survive the comms handicap.Húxiān: Don't they know they're on the same side?!
Count: (aghast) Theyre firing at each other!
- The DLC missions also help flesh out his characterization, namely his grudging respect for Trigger and warming up to the LRSSG and Trigger, to the point that he even assists Trigger in coming up with a plan take down Mimic Squadron during the Anchorhead raid, and is as pissed off as Húxiān is when it is revealed Clemens is conspiring against them. During the final showdown with Torres, he is just as dedicated to protecting the search planes and takes it hard if one of them is shot down on his watch.
- Crazy-Prepared: Very downplayed example in that he keeps a regular radio taped into his cockpit, "ever since [Spare] squadron." This lets him hear just how badly the communications blackout is affecting the Eruseans, on top of the Osean Forces deployed there.
- Déjà Vu: During the battle to take Tyler Island, Fencer tells Tailor to stay glued to his ass, despite the latter's protests. Count remarks that he's heard that before, when Wiseman was saying the exact same thing to him during his first mission as Cyclops 2.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's an arrogant convict and a fraud who won't hesitate to run at the first sight of danger (initially), but even he is disgusted by his accidental murder of Full Band, which he believes to be the result of Bandog intentionally tagging his IFF as an enemy on his radar, though he's more angry about the deception itself than the friendly fire, likely because Full Band wasn't exactly the nicest pilot on the sky. He's also infuriated when he witnesses Eruseans attacking a cargo plane which carries innocent civilians, namely a couple of girls.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: During Triggers final showdown with Mihaly, he, Jaeger, and Húxiān notice that Mihaly was flying like the ADFX-10 that he and Trigger had encountered in "Transfer Orders". But then, they all realize that it was actually the other way around, and that Mihaly served as the base for the ADFX-10s maneuverability.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He shows signs of jealousy as Triggers reputation grows. He even starts going out of his way to try to stand out, to the point Húxiān gets pissed off and calls him a Glory Hound during a mission defending Stonehenge from the Arsenal Bird's drones. He ultimately grows out of this after Wiseman's death, even saying in the ending that "it's [his] fate to watch from down below."Húxiān: You damn glory hound! Do your friggin' job!
- Hot-Blooded: In the "Unknown Visitor" DLC, he gets quite pumped up in the middle of the battle.Count: Come at me, bro! Take your best shot!
- The Lancer: After properly joining Strider Squadron and getting over his rivalry with Trigger, he becomes this to him instead, with him ready to follow Trigger everywhere and does his best to help him in battle.
- While Trigger is the first of the pilots in favor of the Tyler Island operation, the operation itself was borne of Count's own suggestion of the LRSSG needing to "watch our own backs", and of him telling Long Caster of his previous squadron's mission to take it previously.
- Meaningful Name: He was jailed for fraud, after pretending to be the descendant from a noble family. He also has a tendency of inflating his combat kills, giving his callsign a humorous double meaning.
- It's also an allusion to The Count of Monte Cristo, whose title character becomes a better (and in some ways worse) person after a grueling time spent in prison.
- Nice Hat: He doesn't wear one, but his personal insigna is a tophat with wings.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His usual strategy in Spare Squadron, especially if the trouble comes from him searching for enemies to kill (and if said enemies turn out to be swarms of killer drones). The Battle for Farbanti, and his sudden promotion to leading Cyclops Squadron following Wiseman's death, marks the first time that abandoning the battle is not an option for him. From then on, he sticks with Trigger, just as Tabloid recommended all those missions ago.
- Taking the Bullet: During the final mission, he and Trigger dive into the Lighthouse's tunnel network to pursue the remaining ADF-11, but the drone ambushes them midway through. Count manages to warn you and tanks the flurry, but his craft ends up damaged and unable to keep steady. After directing Trigger to escape via the space elevator shaft, he settles for a belly-landing, which he achieves successfully.
- Took a Level in Badass: He's a capable pilot, but he often flees from risky dogfights, leaving his wingmen to deal with the mess. Then he's suddenly in command of a squadron, during an intense dogfight that he cannot run away from. This is the wakeup call for Count to start improving himself in the last act of the game. While not on Trigger's level, Count is at least able to keep up with him. He used to flee from Mihaly every time he showed up; but in the final mission, he actually holds his own against two AI drones programmed with Mihaly's—and later even Trigger's—skillset, and is the only pilot ballsy enough to follow Trigger into a dangerous tunnel mission to destroy the last drone and even survives to tell the tale.
- Troll: Strings along Húxiān by pretending to bring down Arsenal Bird's shield with strongly spoken words. He could actually hear Cossette smashing the devices required to transfer power to the Arsenal Bird, thanks to his commercial radio receiver, so he probably messed with Húxiān for the fun of it.
- True Companions: What he and Trigger come to be, by surviving the war together. Hes even willing to follow Trigger into a tunnel, despite it being considered suicidal for everyone else.
- Underestimating Badassery: On the receiving end of this in the DLC missions- the Mimic Squadron thinks nothing of him, treating their fight as a 2-on-1 vs Trigger only instead of the 2-on-2 that it actually was. Both are shocked to find out that not only was Count distracting them from solely targeting Trigger, he's also too quick-reflexed for them to easily hit.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He develops this rapport with Húxiān. The two constantly bicker, but they're willing to stick their necks out for each other. Both pilots having been thieves in their respective pasts probably helps with that.
- Weapon of Choice: Su-33 Flanker-D during his time as Spare 2; later takes up the F-15C Eagle which is the standard plane for the LRSSG.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Wiseman tries to drill this into him, and after Wiseman's death and Count's resultant freak-out, so does Long Caster and the rest of Cyclops Squadron. Despite his everything crashing down around him, he still acquits himself with merit until the end of the mission.
- You Are in Command Now: After Wiseman is killed by Mihaly, Count suddenly finds himself in command of the Cyclops Squadron and is told to engage Mister X, only to find out the hard way that he is not up to the task. His only order is for Cyclops to form an element in order to help Trigger against Mister X. After the mission, he joins Trigger as Strider 2, which means he put Trigger in command.
A pilot in Spare Squadron, callsign Spare 11. A self-admitted anarchist, Tabloid is nonetheless fairly analytical and easily the most friendly wingmate Trigger meets in the 444th.
- Badass Bookworm: He got his name for his fondness of books. He is also a very capable pilot, being the only fighter that tagged along with Trigger during the confrontation with Mihaly in Yinshi Valley. He lampshades to Avril how he didn't expect to throw himself into the fray like that, and is still shaken by it, despite making out of it in one piece.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Subverted - he's explicitly identified as an anarchist, but he isn't in Spare for some senseless act of destruction or political assassination, but rather for protesting the war. He hasn't done anything worse than throw a rock outside of the context of military actions and never expresses a desire for general chaos, and is probably one of the nicest members of Spare.
- Death by Irony: He's the one who came up with the phrase "Stick with Trigger and you'll make it", yet once he's separated from Trigger around halfway through the game, he ends up getting killed on the ground, near the ending, never rejoining him in the air, while Count—who manages to quite literally follow Trigger's path through the entire war, thus 'sticking' with him to the end—survives.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Almost literally. He's killed by a chunk of falling debris while attempting to rescue a girl during the Lighthouse battle. It comes pretty much out of nowhere and some players might have missed it entirely in the hectic battle against the Arsenal Bird until Avril sadly mentions his demise later. He's also notable for being the only wingman in the entire series who died on the ground and not in his plane, in an offscreen death to boot.
- Felony Misdemeanor: He got thrown into the 444th for calling out Osea on perpetuating the war and for throwing a rock. Quite disproportionate when put next to other convicts like Count, an actual conman, and Trigger, who's been falsely convicted of assassinating a former president.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He dies rescuing a little girl from falling debris during the battle at the Lighthouse.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his outward appearance being described as unimpressive, there is definitely more than meets the eye. He was actually arrested for making political statements and proves a very capable pilot. Even more, both his parents are revealed to be Belkan, and he defies the political stereotype of Belkan people as scheming mad scientists bent on revenge against Osea.
- Never Say "Die": Avril tries to avoid mentioning his death to Cossette, but it's all too obvious that Tabloid isn't coming back.
- Weapon of Choice: Mirage 2000-5.
A pilot in Spare Squadron, callsign Spare 7. Tends to make bets on the outcome of the squadron's missions.
- The Gambler: The source of his callsign. He's always trying to get other members of Spare to make wagers on how things might play out. Notably, he bet that Trigger would kick ass and get down alive after Trigger's first penal sortie. Bandog lost a lot of money to High Roller by betting on the event of Trigger crashing.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Aside from Tabloid, High Roller is one of the most sympathetic wingmen in Spare Squadron thanks to his chummy attitude and lighthearted tendency for bets. Unfortunately, he's also the first named casualty in the squadron, which serves as a reminder that the 444th is ultimately expendable. Though they are initially shocked by his death (with Champ even trying to convince Bandog into retreating, if it means not losing the entire squadron), the squadron still manages to complete the mission, and Full Band tries to crack a dry joke at High Roller's expense, with little reaction.AWACS Bandog: Don't piss your pants over one aircraft being down.
- Skewed Priorities: After his plane is hit by the drones, High Roller's immediate concern is that he's still on the betting table (though that might have just been a euphemism for him saying he was still in the fight). His Famous Last Words are still about betting; telling everyone that he bets on himself that he's going to make it out alive just before a missile shot him down.
- Weapon of Choice: F-16C Fighting Falcon
A pilot in Spare Squadron, callsign Spare 6. He firmly believes in the power of information, and finds ways to gain classified knowledge way above his clearance level.
- Asshole Victim: His tendencies to Speak Ill of the Dead along with his Lack of Empathy doesnt win him any sympathy points when Bandog tricks Count into shooting him down. Of course, Count wasnt exactly thrilled into being tricked by Bandog to shooting him down, though Count sounded more angry about the fact that Bandog tricked him than guilty for killing Full Band.
- He Knows Too Much: Assuming you believe Bandog purposely had him killed, this is a plausible motive behind Bandog's doing so rather than outright malice. After all, a convict with any actual knowledge of top-secret Osean intelligence is not something that is looked upon kindly, and Full Band implicated Bandog (and by extension anyone on the radio that day) by openly speaking about it. With this in mind, it's not exactly surprising that Bandog would silence him in lieu of the entire squadron getting in deep with Osean command, especially after the military was just starting to trust them with actual missions and with a commander who would throw them all under the bus, Bandog included, if it meant saving his own ass. It is implied that the knowledge which ultimately got him killed was that Spare Squadron was being used to probe Erusea's drone defenses (which he likens to "walking blind through a minefield") in order to plot out a course to Stonehenge's ruins so that Osea could restore and use it against the Arsenal Birds. Given how such an operation would vastly turn the tide of the war, it would be no surprise that anyone who came across such intel without authorization would be sorely at risk of being silenced.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: It's Full Band's and Tabloid's idea to form up Spare Squadron very tight so AWACS Bandog can recalibrate the IFF after the Eruseans hacked it, but Full Band is suspiciously flagged as an enemy after the rest of the hostile F/A-18Fs are destroyed, which tricks Count into shooting him down. Depending on who you believe, it was either a genuine mistake on Bandog's part, or Bandog used the chance to get back at Full Band for their earlier disagreement by also flagging him as hostile in Count's Heads-Up Display after the battle with the drones that were spoofing the Osean IFF so Count would shoot him down.
- Killed Mid-Sentence:Full Band: Damn it! Goddamn it! Why does this
Count: What?! Full Band?!
- Lack of Empathy: His comments and actions during the mission indicate he doesn't care much for anyone other than himself, often joking about things such as Trigger's supposed murder of Harling and making fun of pilots who are killed. The most selfless thing he does is assisting in getting the squadron to form up on Trigger so Bandog can re-tag their IFF, but even then one can argue that he did that to save his own ass. Ironically enough, it doesn't, since Bandog accidentally (or not) tags him as an enemy and gets him killed anyways.
- Mistaken for an Imposter: The drones that attack Spare Squadron at the end of Faceless Soldier are all F/A-18F Super Hornets, the same plane Full Band flies. This lends the thinnest veneer of credibility to Bandog's claim that he tagged Full Band as a hostile "accidentally", resulting in the latter's death.
- Painting the Medium: His death is so abrupt that he does not even have time to use punctuation.
- Playful Hacker: He has a habit of running his mouth about breaking into any of the base's computers whenever he can arrange access to them, either directly or by bribing someone else to do it on his behalf (how he manages to get the money for a bribe is rather sketchy), all so he can gain access to information that would be classified above his clearance level (which, being a prisoner, is understandably low). He claims this is mainly so he can be "better informed", but he's not really in much of a position to actually do anything with that information. It's heavily implied AWACS Bandog tagged him as an enemy because He Knows Too Much.
- Schmuck Bait: After Spare Squadron forms up so that Bandog can recalibrate their IFF tags in Faceless Soldier, he very pointedly asks where Full Band is in the formation, to which Full Band replies "the tail end!", giving Bandog the opprotunity to track him throughout the engagement with the F/A-18F drones and then "accidentally" flag him as hostile after all the real drones are downed.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: In the first mission in the Spares, he says that Trigger shot two missiles 'right between old Harling's eyes' with no empathy whatsoever. In the next mission, he makes fun of High Roller's death by joking about his betting. And when Champ gets shot down by Mihaly, he claims in a later mission that Champ went down crying like a baby and calls him a coward. One could say that him getting shot down in a Friendly Fire incident is a bit of a Karmic Death for a guy who never really cared about others.
- Too Dumb to Live: Bragging about your hacking activities and implicitly blackmailing your own AWACS is sure to get you into hot waters real fast. While it's not outright stated, there's a lot of evidence pointing towards Bandog making sure that Full Band would die in an "accident" for getting his hands on classified Osean intelligence.
- Weapon of Choice: F/A-18F Super Hornet.
A pilot in Spare Squadron, callsign Spare 8. Hotheaded and eager to enter the fray despite his superiors' protests.
- Asshole Victim: Hes easily the most arrogant and egotistical member of the Spare Squadron, and couldnt care less about whose in command. When he get shot down by Mihaly, nobody sheds a tear over him for it.
- Dodge by Braking: Champ pulls Pugachev's Cobra on Mihaly only to get shot in the face when Mihaly pulls the more difficult and advanced Kulbitnote .
- Establishing Character Moment: Champ demands to take off first when the 444th are ordered to get airborne. When he's denied, he forces the takeoff.
- Hot-Blooded: He seems to be spoiling for action every time he is in the air.
- Meaningful Name: He's always champing at the bit for a fight.
- Pride: Hes really self-centered and doesn't think too much of the other pilots. He cuts ahead of Tabloid's Mirage 2000-5 just so that he can take off first (and the control tower yells at him for this). This is also his fatal flaw, as he refused to acknowledge he was outclassed by Mihaly.
- Too Dumb to Live: Go ahead, Champ, go after Mihaly and try to fight him one-on-one. It's not like he's an infamous fighter pilot known for his skills in a league above everyone else and flying a top-of-the-line modern fighter while you're a convict piloting a refurbished 30-year old crate made from spare parts andoh wait, you got shot in the face.
- Weapon of Choice: MiG-29A Fulcrum.
Colonel D. McKinsey
The self-serving base commander of the 444th Squadron. He belittles them at every turn, throwing them into solitary confinement for slightest misdeeds and taking credit for their achievements.
- All Crimes Are Equal: He throws any insubordination into solitary confinement, no matter how minor it is.
- Asshole Victim: In the mission Transfer Orders, if his plane gets shot down by the Eruseans, or even Trigger for that matter, Bandog will say that the mission is lost, but the cargo was not worth protecting.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: While it is tempting to shoot him down in Transfer Orders, hes ultimately Trigger and Counts ticket to freedom, so they need to keep him alive through out the mission.
- Catchphrase: Mess with him or go against his orders and the only one word you'll end up hearing from his mouth is "Solitary!"
- Dirty Coward: For all of his glory hounding, he would much rather have a desk job than fight on the frontlines. It ends up backfiring on him, as he gets sent to the frontlines, where hell get the glory he so desires.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted. When escorting him in Transfer Orders, it is entirely possible to shoot him down, and be rewarded a thousand points for it. The only thing stopping the player from doing so, is that shooting him down will end in the mission failing.
- Glory Hound: He frequently takes credit for Spare Squadron's accomplishments on the battlefield in hopes of securing a promotion for himself (a prisoner calls him out on it, only to get his butt thrown in solitary confinement). Why would he put prisoners into combat missions in the first place? After Trigger began making mincemeat out of Erusean planes on his first sortie as a prisoner, McKinsey's superiors probably congratulated him on turning rowdy prisoners into good pilots, implying that they believed he transformed an otherwise noisy penal unit into Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder.
- Hate Sink: Easily the most detestable character in the game due to his cowardice, incompetence and glory-seeking tendencies while possessing absolutely no redeeming qualities or traits whatsoever. It's so bad that Bandog would almost wish that McKinsey was killed by Erusean bombers. One wonders why the prison guards didn't find a way to murder him, as they aren't treated much better than the prisoners. The game even lampshades this in "Transfer Orders": if you shoot his transport down (which causes the mission to fail), you still get 1000 points for doing it.
- Jerkass: In addition to being a self-serving Glory Hound, McKinsey often belittles the prisoner pilots under his command and has them thrown in solitary over the most minor of offenses.
- Lack of Empathy: He doesnt care about the well being of the Spare Squadron, and hoards all of their accomplishments to himself, in the hopes that hell be transferred over to a desk job.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Rather than getting a cushy job far from the fighting, he ends up being transferred to the frontlines where he can earn that coveted glory himself, which is a fitting fate for someone who spent most of the game treating his subordinates like dirt while simultaneously hoarding the credit for their accomplishments for himself.
- The Neidermeyer: He's a cowardly, incompetent, glory-stealing jerkass who makes Bandog look like a Reasonable Authority Figure. For example, after Operation High Card, he has the entire 444th thrown in solitary because their initial orders did not include shooting down the Erusean bombers, even though they were not just bombing the dummy runway, but the control tower he was in, leading Bandog to clear weapons use for Spare so that they have a base to return to and to keep McKinsey from getting killed. After another mission, after Bandog acquiesces to Spare Squadron's reasonable request for permission to use the return line to make sure they have enough supplies to actually carry out their mission, McKinsey again throws everyone who used the return line in solitary because their initial orders forbid using it. He then throws everyone into solitary again after the events of First Contact, because some of the Spare Squadron planes left the airspace before the squadron they were escorting did, (and were doing so under Bandog's orders due to being too damaged to fight) and because one of the planes they were escorting got shot down, by an enemy ace who was established as being in a league above everyone else in both squadrons, except for maybe Trigger. And then after Spare is dragged off to solitary, he immediately changes his tune and begins brown-nosing the guest squadron in order to win favor with Osean High Command. It's to the point that, if McKinsey's transport is shot down during Operation Full House, even Bandog says that the cargo (McKinsey) wasn't worth protecting.
- Put on a Bus: He gets transferred elsewhere after Spare Squadron is designated as a regular military squadron. Thankfully nobody hears from him ever again.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: His bitter mumblings and Glory Hound tendencies suggest he was punted to the 444th to get him away from actual military command. When Spare is designated as a regular military squadron, Long Caster mentions McKinsey was sent to a frontline base in an active front where he could find that glory he wanted.
- Ungrateful Bastard: In addition to denying Spare Squadron any commendation for their accomplishments (and stealing them for his own), when Trigger and Count shoot down the Erusean fighters targeting his transport, he still belittles his escort and tells Wiseman that they were unreliable even though they are the reason hes still alive and breathing. Wiseman wisely tells the colonel that he'll judge Trigger and Count based on what he'd seen (namely, that Trigger shot down one of the most advanced killer drones developed at that time).
The Airborne Warning And Control System operator that commands Spare Squadron in battle and gives them tactical information along with insults.
- Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Bandog is often telling the other members of Spare Squadron this, and with good reason: they devolve into bickering and complaining multiple times in every sortie, to the point that even the player might be tempted to shoot them down just to get them to shut up.
- Deadpan Snarker: The best that Spare Squadron can get out of him is a few snarks when hes not actively insulting them. He also also acts this way if McKinseys plane gets shot down in Transfer Orders.
- Establishing Character Moment: The Implied Death Threat he gives below, is the among the very first things he says when he makes his first appearance.
- Everyone Has Standards: Bandog may be a foul-tempered jerkass who may or may not have deliberately marked Full Band as an enemy, but even he thinks Colonel McKinsey is a useless, incompetent, cowardly, and contemptable glory-hound. During the bombing run on Spare Squadron's base, Bandog actually silences McKinsey over comms before the latter had a chance to say anything about Spare Squadron using their weapons to properly defend the base in defiance of his orders. If McKinsey's transport is shot down in "Transfer Orders", Bandog will tell you that the mission is lost, while also adding that the transport's load was not worth protecting.
- Evil Laugh: Well, not quite evil, exactly, but right after asking for Full Band's location and receiving an answer, Bandog seemingly fails to suppress a brief chuckle.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Implied in Mission 9 when Bandog IDs Full Band as an enemy fighter, resulting in him being shot down by Count. It's entirely plausible that Bandog thought Full Band's knowledge of the Osean Military's plans for Stonehenge and probing the Erusean drone picket was too much of a risk and could have resulted in putting Spare Squadron in danger, and in order to keep that information from leaking, he had to arrange Full Band's death.
- Implied Death Threat: "This is the penal unit. I decide when you die." Depending on how you interpret his actions regarding Full Band in Mission 09, he might have actually made good on this threat.
- Jerkass: Bandog, in contrast to the other AWACS from previous games, is extremely rude and abrasive towards the 444th Fighter Squadron he provides Mission Control for, calling them "bastards", "cowards" and the like. Then again, he leads a penal squadron, and the pilots he commands have no qualms about giving him lip right back. Furthermore, he punishes pretty much any insubordination or underperformance with solitary confinement.AWACS Bandog: Spare 15 has broken through the thunderclouds. Nice work for a dumbass.
AWACS Bandog: Are you bastards flying just to waste fuel?
Spare 8 Champ: Go to hell!
AWACS Bandog: All cowards, go hide in the thunderclouds like Trigger.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- While Bandog can get on your nerves, he does give hints on how to survive certain areas. Ignore him at your own peril when flying through narrow valleys and thunderclouds, or flying into the Erusean's AA missile airspace.
- Although he often calls members of Spare Squadron cowards, many of them really are far more concerned with self-preservation than carrying out missions, and on more than one occasion, decide Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, even knowing they will get solitary for doing so. Their ditching often means Trigger has to finish the job alone (which he always does), which impresses Bandog plenty.
- There is actually a plausible explanation if you believe that Bandog purposely got Full Band killed: Full Band not only got his hands on restricted Osean intel, but he went and implicated the entire squadron by openly talking about it over the air. He was only one step away from committing treason (or implied blackmail against higher-ups), and given that the 444th is already made up of convicted criminals who were operating as a functional suicide squad and just then starting to get a second chance at earning their pardons, it would not be a stretch to think that Bandog silenced Full Band to prevent the whole squadron from suffering a worse fate. If anything, Full Band met the same fate he was always destined for (ie: the death penalty) for his treason against the Osean Federation, albeit on a faster timescale thanks to Bandog.
- Karma Houdini: Despite being directly responsible for Full Band's death, whether it was incompetence, malice (most of Spare lean towards this interpretation) or trying to protect them from Full Band's revealing intel, Bandog suffers no negative consequences for it aside from Count angrily bringing up the subject as a jab in the following operation. Since Trigger ends up transferred to another flight unit at the end of the Spare Squadron arc, Bandog is not seen again.
- There is a small hint he might have got what was coming to him, as radio chatter in Last Hope mentions Osean penal units taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Kessler castastrophe caused by Osea and Erusea to rebel against their former allies. Given that Bandog was a penal unit AWACS operator, he might have been one of those Osean units attacked by his former prisoners in the chaos. The game, however, does not elaborate on the situation beyond the one line of dialog.
- Lack of Empathy: Downplayed. Like McKinsey, he doesnt care for the Spare Squadrons well being, and only cares about them carrying out their mission. He at least does his job as the forward air control for the squadron, was reasonable to realize that the squadron needed to resupply during the mission Long Day, and he eventually comes to respect Trigger.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Several members of Spare Squadron believe Bandog did this when he marked Full Band as a hostile target after the Eruseans spoofed Osea's IFF systems and Spare formed up to allow him to try to sort out who was friend or foe, which ultimately resulted in Count firing the missile that struck Full Band's plane, killing him. While Bandog insists about this being a genuine mistake even in later missions, there was a lot of Foreshadowing beforehand in his conversations with Full Band that heavily imply that he did so with a highly plausible explanation of He Knows Too Much and after a lot of consideration and leeway for the convict. Somewhat confusing matters is that Full Band flew a F/A-18F, the exact same model as the Erusean drones spoofing Osean IFF codes.
- Meaningful Name: "Bandog" is an old term for a type of mutt guard or watchdog, bred from other vicious dogs. It fits his role as Spare Squadron's primary jailer while they're in the skies. Several characters even directly call him a "watch dog" or "guard dog". Fittingly, his emblem is a vicious-looking dog with an Osean flag-patterned collar.
- The Neidermeyer: Downplayed. While hes still a jerkass who shows little to no concern for the Spare Squadron, hes not as bad as McKinsey, and he does actually do his job as the forward air controller for the Spare Squadron, despite the fact that he hates most of their guts.
- Not So Above It All: For all of his belittling of the convicts in Spare Squadron, he isn't above taking High Roller up on his bets. He also makes note of Trigger and Count's Body-Count Competition, calling Count out for lying about his actual UAV kills.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Bandog usually puts down the members of Spare Squadron and comments on the mission with a distinctive abrasive tone. If he uses any other tone of voice, it either means something is about to go very wrong or is already going wrong, or he is being extremely sincere about what he says. This is especially so if he starts talking like a formal AWACS operator; whatever is about to happen, it's not going to be a place for screwing around.
- During the duel with Mihaly in First Contact, Bandog drops all the snark and chatter, giving Trigger clear and concise information while encouraging him to keep a cool head.
- During "Faceless Soldier", Bandog breaks character twice, once when the unidentified Osean squadron opens fire on Spare Squadron, catching him off-guard, and again when an Arsenal Bird started raining its "Helios" missiles in the operation area, also catching him by surprise. In the latter, he was so tied up with updating his intel that the only response Full Band got out of him for demanding additional information was a hurried, "God damn it! Not right now!" One wonders if that inadvertently resulted in Bandog's "mistake"...
- In "Transfer Orders", Bandog once again breaks character after he gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Count when the latter tries to talk down his praise of Trigger. Rather than his usual condescending riposte or silence at Count's retort, Bandog drops the following line, which would come back to bite Count's ass long after the AWACS gets Put on a Bus:AWACS Bandog: You wouldn't understand, Count. Not until you take a good look in the mirror.
- Pet the Dog: While Bandog may give a first impression that he is as much of a Bad Boss as Colonel McKinsey, some of his interactions with the members of Spare Squadron paint him as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, especially towards Trigger and, to a lesser extent, Count.
- The fact that he still fulfills his duties as AWACS to a squadron of convicts is quite telling, especially since his tone towards Spare Squadron often implies he does not care about their fate. This trope is particularly obvious in "Faceless Soldier", where he still provided Spare Squadron with all the intel he had and, at one point, even agreed to a suggestion by Tabloid for the purposes of ensuring that almost everyone stayed alive to complete the mission.
- He sometimes has an Oh, Crap! moment when a missile is locked on Trigger, and if anything, the alarm in his tone is more obvious than most other AWACS', on a level equal to a wingman.
- During Trigger's time in Spare Squadron, he has taken some flak in-mission from other squadron members who still see his alleged assassination of former President Harling as an act beyond redemption; following "444", Bandog is usually the only person who puts them down by telling them that their lack of performance makes them no better than Trigger, if not worse.
- Every once in a while, he compliments Trigger (albeit in his own Jerkass way) after the latter manages to pull off a particularly dangerous task; this is also largely because most of the other Spare Squadron members are pretty much useless during any given mission and are sometimes willing to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! to save their own hides, which often makes Trigger the only person who actually gets anything done.
- During "Long Day", where Spare Squadron was explicitly denied the use of the return line to repair and supply, he defied Colonel McKinsey's orders and allowed them to do so after a short conversation with Count. If Trigger manages to cause enough damage to the enemy base, he'll state that he's the only one who "earned redemption".
- If Trigger gets struck by lightning during "First Contact", he will promptly tell Trigger to stay calm and assist him. Later, when Wiseman and Húxiān yell at the retreating Spare planes for not fighting Mihaly (who just killed Champ and one unnamed recon plane), Bandog covers for the deserters by claiming he's just sending back the damaged aircraft. In Bandog's eyes, anyone who isn't skilled enough for fighting off the dreaded "Mister X" (the majority of Spare Squadron) shouldn't stick around anyway. Bandog's immediate ordering of Trigger to hold Mihaly back pays off, as Cyclops and Strider Squadrons witness firsthand just how good Trigger can fight.
- While it's open to interpretation, his indirect murder of Full Band using Count as a proxy was motivated by care for the Spares. Full Band was babbling about how he got his hands on classified intel about the Osean plan to use Spare as Cannon Fodder to plot a course through the holes in Erusea's drone network to the last Stonehenge cannon and use it to take out one of the Arsenal Birds and could've compromised the whole squadron (who started to gain the confidence of Osea) and the Osean war effort. Since the Spares don't give a crap about getting tossed in solitary, threats wouldn't have worked, so murder was Bandog's only option.
- In their last mission together, he outright tells Trigger that he is a "breath of fresh air" and "doesnt stink" like the other convicts in the squadron. Count tries to put Trigger down (again) during that conversation and Bandog immediately puts the former in his place, calling out Count's jealousy and hypocrisy.
- Put on a Bus: He is replaced by Long Caster after Trigger and Count are reassigned to the Long Range Strategic Strike Group.
- Shoot the Dog: No pun intended. It's strongly implied that he deliberately got Full Band killed because the latter was bragging about selling classified info on an open channel, thereby implicating the entire squadron in his treason and leaving Bandog with only one clean option.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: It is obvious early on that his respect for the convicts under his command hovers between "negligible" and "none", if even that. He spends as much time bad-mouthing them as he does briefing them, and, depending how you view the situation between him and Full Band, he may even be willing to kill pilots who step too far out of line. The only squadron member he actually seems to respect in the end is Trigger.
- Try Not to Die: In "Long Day", he subverts this by telling the members of Spare Squadron that they would not be useful as targets if they died too quickly. Given that McKinsey practically tells them to die if they don't complete the mission, Bandog is actually more reasonable (as he allows the prisoner pilots to restock on fuel and ammunition in complete defiance of orders).
Long Range Strategic Strike Group (Cyclops & Strider Squadron)
The flight lead of the OADF's Cyclops Squadron, callsign Cyclops 1.
- Ace Pilot: Hes noted to be one of the "Osean Big-Shots", along with Trigger. He's the one who figures out the structural weakness of the platforms in the mission "Fleet Destruction" (unless you beat him to the punch) and will inform others about it, and he's the only pilot alongside Trigger whom Long Caster entrusted with taking on the Arsenal Bird Liberty itself while other pilots deal with the drones.
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: He's bald, he's black, and he runs the LRSSG.
- Boisterous Bruiser: A pilot version. He's not quite a Blood Knight, but he's always in a good mood while fighting from a cockpit. When he's back in action at Farbanti, he expresses both competitiveness in getting back up on the killboards, and pride that his squadrons have done well in his absence.
- The Gadfly: The second Count complains about being treated like a baby chick, Wiseman ramps up the little-chick jokes, and starts calling himself the mother hen. It happens in every mission he's in afterwards, and doesn't end until his untimely death in the Battle of Farbanti.Wiseman: Chirp chirp chirp, li'l chick! ... Don't worry: stick with your mother hen, and you'll make it back safe and sound.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Realizing the rest of the LRSSG are at risk of dying thanks to "Mister X", he attempts to act as a lure to Mihaly, so Trigger can shoot him down. Unfortunately, Mihaly shoots him down in the process, which does leave the other pilots alive and quite upset.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: His death noticeably helps in Count's Character Development.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He doesn't trash-talk Spare Squadron during your first meeting and heartily thanks the Spares for providing support for his squadrons. Later, after Trigger provides rear-guard by taking Mister X head-on and living to tell the tale and later shoots down the ADFX-10, he immeadiatly wants him to join the LRSSG, recognizing Trigger's talents.
- Senseless Sacrifice: He distracts Mihaly in order to give Trigger a chance to shoot him down, and is himself shot down by Mihaly in the process. Before Trigger can avenge him, however, the Osea-Erusea simultaneous satellite attacks rendered everyone's electrical systems haywire and Mihaly uses this chance to make his escape. Count bitterly notes that even though they actually won the battle, Wiseman died for nothing.
- Team Dad: He cares for his squadron and always seeks the best for them. He even sees the good in both Trigger and Count, siding with them over Bandog and McKinsey. Eventually, all this starts to rub off on Count, who is shaken and primed for getting back at Mister X for killing Wiseman.
- Verbal Tic: Tends to say "shit" whenever a mission doesn't go as planned. Which is to say quite often.
- Weapon of Choice: F-15C Eagle, also used by every LRSSG pilot, save Trigger if the player decides otherwise.
- Worthy Opponent: Mihaly acknowledges him as such.You're quite the entertainer, but the show's over with this next shot. ...He wasn't a bad pilot.
A pilot in Cyclops Squadron, callsign Cyclops 4. Foul-mouthed and temperamental, she constantly butts heads with Count once he and Trigger are assigned to the LRSSG. Late in the war, she is reassigned to Strider Squadron as Strider 4.
- Action Girl: The only female pilot in the LRSSG. Unlike Brownie, she survives the Lighthouse War and is regarded as the second best shot in her squadron after Trigger.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She mentions during Mission 18 when Strider Squadron is raiding Shilage Castle for supplies that stealing to survive was commonplace where she grew up. Count, himself having committed fraud, is taken aback by this admission.
- I Owe You My Life: During the 444's mission to support the LRSSG, Trigger facing Mihaly on his own bought time for the LRSSG pilots to retreat, with Wiseman and Húxiān among them. She brings it up in Trigger and Count's first mission as pardoned LRSSG pilots, acknowledging that Trigger's actions saved her from "the demon in the [enemy] experimental squadron" and simultaneously styming Count's attempt at bragging.
- In-Universe Catharsis: In the aftermath of Operation Domino, Húxiān immediately jumps at Clemens' throat demanding for an explanation for his communications with the Dalsen siblings during the Anchorhead Raid. Clemens dismisses her concerns and starts calling the MPs once she refuses to stand down, only to realize that the Joint Chief of Staff also called the MPs to arrest him, given his actions are damning evidence of leaking info to Erusea, knowingly or not. Húxiān then says that the MPs aren't necessary to deal with Clemens, after which a loud thud is heard, implying she knocked him out with her fists.
- Ironic Name: Húxiān in Chinese means "Fox Immortal", a deity known in Chinese mythology to convey wealth and property. This contrasts with her background, where stealing to survive was commonplace for her.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: She knows she's no match against Mihaly, so she doesn't put herself into a suicidal battle and thus only supports Trigger from a distance as he tries to take Mihaly down.
- Lady Swears-a-Lot: Count notes that she swears a lot, even more than he does. Her response is that she's not just good at swearing; she's got quick fists, too.Count: (after a beat) ...I thought you'd say that.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Different characters pronouncer her name slightly differently, though they usually sound like either "Hoo-shan" or "Hoo-zhan". Both are different from the actual pronunciation of the word in Mandarin Chinese, and are anglicized pronunciations.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female fighter pilot in the LRSSG.
- Undying Loyalty: In battle, she prioritizes protecting her allies on the ground, even at the risk of getting shot down and injured. During one such instance during the Stonehenge Defensive, Wiseman tells her to get back to base lest they lose her; she reluctantly complies. When she gets damaged again during Special Mission 2, she complies a little more agreeably, but she is no more happy about leaving the rest of the squadron at the mercy of Mimic.
- In the briefing for Mission 17, while many of the other pilots all want to go home, she is ready to follow Trigger to Tyler Island.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: She develops this rapport with Count. The two constantly bicker, but they're willing to stick their necks out for each other. Both pilots having been thieves in their respective pasts probably helps with that.
A pilot in Strider Squadron, callsign Strider 3. Has a son back in Osea, whom he can't wait to tell the various stories he witnesses in the war.
- Action Dad: He has a son back home in Osea, whom he hopes to tell almost all his adventures as a pilot with when the war is over. He'll comment at times, "This will be a good story to tell my son."
- Dark and Troubled Past: Averted. As far as Strider Squadron goes, Jaeger's also the only one who doesn't have any significant baggage with him (compared to Trigger and Count having been convicts, and Húxiān having had to take from others to survive long before becoming a pilot), which makes him the most "normal" pilot of Strider Squadron, relatively speaking.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's not happy about having to raid Shilage Castle for supplies, due to the refugees staying there as well as fighting the local garrison who are just trying to protect their home and the refugees. Not only that, the area is of cultural value to Shilage, which makes dropping bombs on it an extra-bitter pill to swallow.Jaeger: Not something I'll tell my son about.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Against Mister X, Jaeger immediately decides that he, Count, and Húxiān need to leave this enemy to Trigger, lest they get in the way; thus resorting to indirect support from a distance.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Following the events of Lost Kingdom, Jaeger, in one of the few moments where he loses his cool, angrily comments about the chaos of the LRSSG's situation due to lack of communication and the spread of unfounded rumors.Jaeger: Luckily, the rumor that the Erusean Army is advancing nearby is only a rumor. There's no sign of them in the skies...Rumors, rumors, rumors! This is what happens when you lose communications!
- Team Dad: Not as much as Wiseman to the LRSSG pilots, but Wiseman treatS Jaeger as his Number Two, such as entrusting him (Jaeger) to shepherd the retreating members of the LRSSG in Mission 7, and letting him ride herd on the entire crew when Wiseman himself is off-duty. (This is reinforced in the last act of the game, when Jaeger actually takes over the pre-mission briefings — the first time a wingman has done so in franchise history.)Count: Make sure to include in the report how much ass I kicked while off the company commander's leash.Jaeger: Right. And I'll be sure to include all the crap you said about Wiseman too.
AWACS Long Caster
The Airborne Warning And Control System operator that commands the Long Range Strategic Strike Group after Spare Squadron is reassigned to the LRSSG. Has a habit of eating while on the job.
- Big Eater: His emblem of all things is a hamburger. The first thing he talks about is hoping that you don't mind him eating on the job (a habit to keep him focused on the job), and he frequently compares things to food in some way, be it hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches, and pie. Count and Jaeger sometimes join in on the food banter. In the second DLC mission, he goes so all-out on the food metaphors that Count, Lanza, and Húxiān join him.
- Establishing Character Moment: The very first thing he says when the mission begins, is that hes going to eat while he works, because as he puts it; his judgment goes fuzzy whenever he gets too hungry.
- OOC Is Serious Business: He is generally very laid back, even on missions, and speaks rather casually for an AWACS operator. So when he starts speaking formally with no casual air whatsoever, you know for a fact that things are not looking good.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike Bandog, Long Caster treats the transfers from Spare professionally. The difference between Long Caster and Bandog is emphasized when a member of the LRSSG is shot down: while Bandog had reminded Spare Squadron that they were expendable and tended to speak of self-preservation in the context of preventing damage to OADF property (their planes), Long Caster tells the pilot to bail out, as planes are replaceable, but pilots aren't. He also takes command after the Osean-Erusean A-SAT attacks cut off all communications and support between all combatants, as well as the death of Wiseman, which has left the LRSSG commander in shock. When everything comes down to defeating the Radical Erusean faction's forces at the space elevator, he treats the friendly Erusean planes with respect and broadcasts on an open channel so they can coordinate with the Osean forces.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Long Caster really likes eating anything he can eat with his hands (i.e. sandwiches or sausage rolls) and not anything that requires ustensils, especially when he is on a mission. His reasons are justified during "Unexpected Visitor," as he explains to landing ship Puffin that he prefers to eat such foods because it doesn't interfere with his duties. On top of that, his emblem (not shown in-game) is that of a burger with an Osean flag on a toothpick. After sinking the Alicorn, he decides to celebrate with a burger... And eats it with a fork and knife since he can relax now.
- You Are in Command Now: When the Usean satellite network is taken out by Osea and Eruseas simultaneous anti-satellite attack, he assumes command of the LRSSG after the company commander suffers a nervous breakdown and subsequent depression.
A pilot in Strider Squadron, callsign Strider 2. Late in the war, he switches to Cyclops Squadron in favor of Count.
- A Day in the Limelight: He temporarily becomes Strider 3 during "Unexpected Visitor".
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Has a rather poor view of Trigger initially, despite the fact that Wiseman, his company commander, can cite two highly impressive feats of piloting (Taking on Mister X/Mihaly and destroying the prototype drone) that he was personally witness to. After the first sortie together, his tune changes completely.
- Dislikes the New Guy: Count is not happy being assigned as Cyclops 2 while Trigger becomes Strider 1, and mouths off how he should have had that position. Skald questions whether or not they should just follow Count if he was given leadership of Strider Squadron, and sarcastically comments that he must've been a spectacular leader in his previous squadron (which he definitely wasn't).
- Hidden Depths: Reveals that he's good at trivia and quiz shows in "Anchorhead Raid".
- Mauve Shirt: Skald, along with Lanza, is one of your initial wingmen in Strider Squadron, and has enough voice lines to give him some nominal importance. He makes it alive all the way to the end of the war, but ends up relegated to Cyclops Squadron in favor of Count, who, along with Jaeger and Húxiān, makes up the final composition of your squadron.
A pilot in Strider Squadron, callsign Strider 4. Late in the war, he switches to Cyclops Squadron in favor of Húxiān.
- A Day in the Limelight: He temporarily becomes Strider 3 during "Anchorhead Raid".
- Catchphrase: Being the laid-back guy that he is, he tends to say "Wow" when things go his way or "Whoa" when they don't.
- Dislikes the New Guy: Less pronounced than Skald, but he tells Count not to slow the rest of the squadron on their first sortie.
- Mauve Shirt: Lanza, along with Skald, first flies with you as part of Strider Squadron midway through the story, and makes it alive all the way to the end of the war, but ends up relegated to Cyclops Squadron in favor of Húxiān, who, along with Jaeger and Count, makes up the final composition of Strider Squadron. During the final takeoff, he wishes he could've flown with you, but his injuries and his damaged plane both prevent him from joining the fight.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: During Operation Domino's debriefing, Húxiān flies into a rage towards Clemens, inadvertently spilling Lanza's cola while she's at it. Tensions run high as accusations of treason are thrown around, and all Lanza can muster is a sad "Shit, my cola..."
A pilot in Cyclops Squadron, callsign Cyclops 3. Noted by Wiseman to be one of the most capable members of the LRSSG.
- Butt-Monkey: Downplayed. He's a capable pilot on his own, but bad things tend to happen to him. In Mission 12, he gets shot down during the engagement with the Arsenal Bird Liberty and has to bail out, his injuries preventing him from joining the LRSSG in the hunt for Alicorn and thus is Out of Focus during the entire arc. He finally recovers by the time of the Battle of Farbanti, only to be shot down again by Mihaly near the end of the battle not to mention losing his squadron leader and having to take up command in his place. And it's implied that the reason he and the rest of Cyclops Squadron did not participate in the final battle is because their planes were too damaged by Hugin and Munin's surprise attack in Operation Daredevil beforehand. Oh, and he gets trash-talked by the newcomer Tailor after lecturing him.
- Mauve Shirt: While he isn't part of Strider Squadron, Fencer provides support while in Cyclops Squadron and has nearly as much dialogue as Lanza and Skald, and makes it all the way to the end of the war, only skipping out on the final battle because the rest of Cyclops Squadron is exhausted following Operation Daredevil. He even takes up the role of leader once he's put in command of Cyclops Squadron, coaching newcomer Tailor in a manner reminiscent to Wiseman.
- Out of Focus: He's the only member of the LRSSG who's entirely absent in the three-part DLC missions due to him still recovering from the injuries suffered from getting shot down by the Arsenal Bird in Mission 12. Even in 'Ten Million Relief Plan', where Wiseman ordered every Strider and Cyclops pilots bar himself to sortie, Fencer is the only other pilot who didn't go with them.
- You Are in Command Now: Following Wiseman's death and Count's subsequent inability to lead Cyclops Squadron at the end of the Battle of Farbanti and the squadron shake up making him switch places to Strider Squadron, Fencer is put in charge of Cyclops Squadron, now consisting of himself, Skald, Lanza and newcomer Tailor all the way to the end of the war.
A pilot in Cyclops Squadron. He replaces Fencer as Cyclops 3 late in the war after Wiseman is killed and Fencer is promoted to squadron leader.
- New Meat: Judging from how Fencer treated him in the same way as how Wiseman treated Count when he first joined the LRSSG and the tone of Tailor's voice, it can be implied that Tailor is quite young and not as experienced as the other LRSSG veterans.
- Remember the New Guy?: He was assigned to Cyclops Squadron some time after Operation Gorgon, with no explaination as to where he comes from. It could be implied that he's a reserve pilot in the LRSSG who gets put into active duty after Wiseman's death, but still, he just kinda shows up out of nowhere.
- Replacement Flat Character: He doesn't get much characterization and is only there to fill in Wiseman's place in Cyclops Squadron, and to get chewed out by Fencer in a way reminsicent of how Wiseman treated Count early on. He's the only LRSSG pilot who doesn't even have a portrait.
Mage & Golem Squadron
The flight lead of the OADF's Mage Squadron, callsign Mage 1. During the early days of the war, Trigger is assigned to his squadron as Mage 2, and Clown teaches him a few combat tips like a mentor would.
- A Father to His Men: A minor example. He takes a mentor position over Trigger in the initial missions, and treats him fairly, not coming down on him too hard if/when Trigger makes mistakes. Even when Trigger is accused of murdering Harling, he still remains calm and doesn't fly off the handle at him like Knocker does, even trying to cover for him by pointing out how chaotic the battle was and how close the drones were to Harling's plane.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: In a series known for it, Clown always has a quip at the ready, and keeps his cool even when a mission is falling apart.
- The Mentor: Acts as one of sorts to Trigger during the initial days of the war.
- Nice Guy: Welcoming and doesn't bust Trigger's chops too badly despite being a rookie. He's not a rough-around-the-edges ace like Bartlett.
- Put on a Bus: He's never seen again after Trigger is convicted and reassigned to Spare Squadron.
The flight lead of Golem Squadron, callsign Golem 1.
- It's All My Fault: He blames himself for Brownie's death as he had ordered her to withdraw from the combat zone when her plane was damaged, sending her right into Mihaly's ambush.
- The Mentor: Much like Clown, but he seems to have this position over both Golem and Mage. He places priority over protecting and guiding "the fledglings" of the squadron, and after Trigger's "incident" with Harling, he seems more angry at Clown for not keeping an eye on Trigger than at Trigger himself.
- Put on a Bus: He's never seen again after Trigger is convicted and reassigned to Spare Squadron.
- Theme Naming: All known Golem Squadron pilots have a callsign that's some manner of sprite or fairy. In his case, it's a knocker (also known as a Tommy Knocker).
A pilot in Golem Squadron, callsign Golem 2.
- Break the Cutie: She noticably gets more and more panicked and afraid as Mihaly pursues her, calling him a "predator." By the time Mihaly finally takes the shot, she is practically screaming for support.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: A pretty brutal example for Ace Combat. Mihaly toys with her before shooting her down, making sure her scrambling to stay alive is, "all she has".
- Sacrificial Lamb: She is caught and killed by Mihaly in the third mission. Her death cements that Anyone Can Die in this game, and shows that Mihaly is a very predatory fighter in a league of his own.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female fighter pilot in Golem Squadron.
- Theme Naming: All known Golem Squadron pilots have a callsign that's some manner of sprite or fairy. In her case, it's a brownie.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: She goes out of her way to avoid civilian casualties during Mission 2, even often raising concerns to her wingmen about enemy planes falling into the town below. Planes crashing into civilian properties account for some notable tragedies in the series, after all.
AWACS Sky Keeper
The Airborne Warning And Control System operator that commands Mage Squadron and Golem Squadron during the opening days of the Lighthouse War.
- General Failure: The pilots under his command are audibly exasperated by him, and it's not hard to see why - he has a habit of demanding the impossible of his people while giving them severely incomplete information. The worst example is Mission 3, when he sends a depleted, undersupplied strike force up against a stolen Osean superweapon while neglecting to mention that it can defend itself with an impenetrable energy field, causing the loss of several of the country's top aces.
- Hero-Worshipper: He's an ardent supporter of Vincent Harling, regarding him as a hero who ended the Circum-Pacific War. Even though he's not the president anymore, Sky Keeper says that Harling is always the president in his eyes, and does his best to rescue him from the Eruseans. He's particularly heartbroken when Harling's plane is shot down, and sounded betrayed when he addressed Trigger, whom he believed to be responsible for the incident.
- Put on a Bus: After Trigger becomes a convict and joins Spare Squadron, he isn't seen again for the rest of the war.
Other OADF Members
Brigadier General Howard Clemens
The Brigadier General in charge of Operation Sighthound, the Operation to capture the Alicorn submarine.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: When Count calls out Clemens' contact with Mimic Squadron during the Anchorhead Raid, Clemens tells him he's delusional and requests for the MP to apprehend him. Immediately after, another Osean officer (that is to say, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Osean Armed Forces and the third highest ranked man in Osea after the Chief of Staff and the President as Commander-in-Chief) comes on voice call agreeing with his request, but to apprehend Clemens instead while presenting even more damning evidence of his treachery.
- Conveniently Timed Distraction: Both of the operations he's led have ended up (knowingly or not) becoming this for Torres - Osea's attempt to capture the Alicorn weakened the defending Eruseans enough to prevent them from reacting to Torres going rogue, while the operation to further compromise Erusea's naval power before the Battle for Farbanti allows the Alicorn to discreetly resupply at Anchorhead Bay in the chaos caused by Strider Squadron's attack.
- Establishing Character Moment: The very first line he speaks is him complaining to David about how slow he is at setting up his briefing.
- Glory Hound: He is not as open about it as McKinsey was, but some of his dialogue implies that the reason he hired Mimic to kill Trigger was because Trigger's exploits were overshadowing the successes of other Osean forces—such as himself. To his credit, however, when it becomes apparent that the rest of the Osean High Command see Trigger as a valuable asset, he attempts to call Mimic off the attack—unfortunately for him, they refuse, and the only thing he accomplishes is implicating himself in the assassination plot.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His plot to kill Trigger is revealed after he realizes Trigger is a valuable asset to Osea, and it would be very, very bad if he were to end up killed—say, by a pair of mercenaries he hired explicitly to kill him. His attempt to call them off end up exposing his plan.
- Jerkass: While not as big of a Glory Hound like McKinsey, it is apparent from his dialogue that he cares very little about the feelings of his subordinates.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- When Operation Sighthound starts, he informs the LRSSG that they need to take control of the airspace above the Alicorn despite objections from Wiseman and the late arrival of electronic warfare aircraft to the scene since if they can't do it, the Erusean Navy would deploy Alicorn against their fleet.
- His whole insistence on capturing Alicorn rather than sinking her is one of political and legal importance: if the sub is found to have weapons of mass destruction for use as revenge for Erusea's loss of territory, Erusea's international standing will crumble. However, making such an accusation without some really solid proof (read: the submarine itself) will hurt Osea's standing instead, so allowing the Eruseans to scuttle the submarine or otherwise allowing the evidence to be destroyed is a very bad idea.
- Oh, Crap!: Of the slow-burning sort. When Trigger proves his worth to Osean High Command, he sounds very dismayed since he was of the opinion that Trigger's talents were irrelevant. The "oh, crap!" factor comes in when Rage and Scream show up a moment later, still following their contract to assassinate Trigger, which causes Clemens to raise them over a radio in a panic telling them to call off the attack, an order which they refuse to comply to. Fortunately, Trigger still downs them, but unfortunately, his little radio show exposes him as the mastermind behind the plot to kill Trigger.
- The Mole: The debriefing for "Anchorhead Raid" has him arrested for disseminating false intelligence from his source on the Alicorn, who is revealed to have been a former member of Torres' crew acting as a double agent. Whether or not Clemens actually betrayed Osea or was serving as Torres' Unwitting Pawn is unknown.
- The Neidermeyer: Clemens is a Mean Boss in officer form, as he gives out risky orders that he expects his soldiers to follow unconditionally and shuts up reasonable requests from his subordinates at a whim. It is implied that he even tried to have Trigger assassinated by Mimic Squadron.
- Villain Ball: Him ordering Rage and Scream to stand down while using an Osean radio frequency during "Anchorhead Raid" reveals his connection to Mimic Squadron, who are heavily implied to have been hired by Clemens to assassinate Trigger. This along with spreading false intelligence from one of Torres' men gets him arrested for treason.
Vice-Chairman Edwards of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Vice-Chairman of the Osean Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the highest-ranked individuals in the Osean military.
- Four-Star Badass: Assuming the Osean Joint Chiefs of Staff work similar to their real-world counterpart nation, the United States, Edwards isn't just a four-star officer of his branch of the ODF, he is by law the second highest-ranked officer in the entire Osean military. Clemens is audibly terrified when he starts talking after the Anchorhead Raid. For good reason.
- Laser-Guided Karma: For Clemens, he is the karma, in human form.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: His first (and so far only) scene has him showing up to order the arrest of Clemens, who has been double-dealing with Erusean agents and Mimic Squadron, and is at that point trying to arrest and ground pilots of the LRSSG for calling him out on it.
- Tranquil Fury: He shows up after the Anchorhead Raid when Brigadier General Clemens has revealed himself as being a traitor thanks to openly communicating with Mimic Squadron. He maintains a normal speaking voice but is very obviously livid.
Lieutenant General Shepherd
A high-ranking officer in the Osean Military and Brigadier General Clemens's direct superior.
- Didn't See That Coming: He's in on Clemens's plan to discredit Trigger by proving to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that they don't need Trigger to win their battles. If Trigger performs exceedingly well during the Anchorhead Raid, he'll tell Clemens that the Joint Chief of Staffs unanimously agreed that Osea has much need of Trigger instead, which isn't the result he predicted at all.
- Shout-Out: His name, rank, voice and possibly his behavior is a reference to Shepherd from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
- The Man Behind the Man: He's Clemens's superior and is implied to be in cahoots with Clemens' plan to discredit Trigger to convince the Joint Chiefs of Staff that they don't need Trigger to win a war. He may or may not be involved with Clemens's false intelligence activities and the plot to kill Trigger as well.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pulled one on Clemens himself when his plan to discredit Trigger fails by disavowing all of Clemens's actions, claiming that Clemens was the sole person responsible for handling all aspects of the missions - including all of the suspicious activities like operating on false intelligence provided by an ex-Alicorn crew member and siccing Mimic Squadron on Trigger.
Osean Ground Defense Force
Major Deanna McOnie
An Osean Major in charge of restoring the only remaining Stonehenge cannon so it can be used to shoot down one of the Arsenal Birds.
- Good with Numbers: She definitely is, considering she was able to use a paper-printed range table to calculate a firing trajectory for the final Stonehenge cannon using UTM coordinates and compensating for the Coriolis Effect and other atmospheric conditions in a real hurry.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: When the survey vehicles are sabotaged by Erusean secret agents, she decided to take up her assistant's advice and aim at the Arsenal Bird manually after Trigger slowed it down by disabling its main propellers. With an unfamiliar weapons system that is barely in good enough condition to fire a single shot and through the visual distortion of the Arsenal Bird's Microwave Powered Dome, she scores a bullseye clean through the Arsenal Bird's core, splitting the aerial warship in half.
- Majorly Awesome: She's both in charge of the ground defense force around Stonehenge as well as overseeing the repair operation of the cannon itself as well, and she's the one who fired the shot that destroyed the first Arsenal Bird.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Very prominent part of her mugshot, and definitely smart.
Warrant Officer Lehmann
Major McOnie's assistant in the operation to restore the Stonehenge cannon.
- Number Two: Second in command to the Stonehedge op when Deanna is forced to fire the cannon via manual controls.
- The Smart Guy: He knows what he's doing when he helps Deanna restore the Stonehenge cannon, and he's the one who came up with the idea of manually aiming at the Arsenal Bird itself after the survey vehicles are sabotaged and thus unable to function as the cannon's targeting system, but this requires the air force to slow Arsenal Bird down first.
An Osean Army officer working to spirit away General Édouard Labarthe after the fall of Farbanti.
- Badass Driver: He's driving a VIP in a car at top speed through a metropolitan war-torn city where everybody is shooting everybody, and on several occasions, he somehow manages to out-drive armored cars and tanks trying to take him out.
- Captain Obvious: Aside from being an actual captain, he will remind you that his car isn't exactly a tank when he takes damage.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: At one point when tanks are blocking the road, he quips that they're probably going to ask for a toll payment.
- The Mole: An Osean AWACS with the callsign "Argus" identifies Karl as an impostor, but doesn't offer any evidence or proof. This trope is a Subverted Trope because AWACS Argus was fed false intelligence claiming that Karl is an impostor in the 2019 edition of Aces at War: A History that is included in the Aces at War editions of the physical console releases in a case of All There in the Manual.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All his efforts to get Labarthe out of Anchorhead Bay are for naught when an Osean F-16 shoots down the Chinook helicopter evacuating them.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in the very mission he's introduced in.
An ex-OADF pilot and officer with the rank of Colonel. He went with ex-President Harling to the International Space Elevator to conduct a personal inspection when it comes under attack, commandeering an Erusean V-22 under the codename "Mother Goose One".
- Deadpan Snarker: For the few moments he talks over the comms, he's fairly snarky, acknowledging to Sky Keeper that his piloting skills are at least better than Harling's. Then there's his reaction to Sky Keeper assigning him the callsign "Mother Goose One".
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in the very mission he's introduced in.
Osean Intelligence Agency
An analyst for the Osean Intelligence Agency working in Advanced Weapons Analysis, who investigates the whereabouts of an ex-Yuktobanian Navy Super-Scinfaxi class submarine known as Alicorn.
- Amateur Sleuth: David's doing what seems to be OSINTnote work while investigating the whereabouts of the Alicorn and its captain, Matias Torres.
- Dull Surprise: He acts a little surprised when Alex tells him that the simulation she ran had failed because the parameters he gave her, along with his hypothesis were trash.
- Gun Nut: His main job is to conduct research and analysis on advanced weaponry such as the Alicorn, and he seems to be a fanboy for the various superweapons that were produced by Belka.
- Mr. Exposition: He explains to the LRSSG on the significance of the Alicorn and Matias Torres during a debriefing session.
- The Smart Guy: He managed to get into college at the age of 15 note before being hired by the OIA six years later. Throughout the SP Missions, he serves as the LRSSG's main source of information on the Alicorn and its commanding officer.
- Verbal Tic: He has a tendency to begin his expositions with a question, asking his listeners like he's a pop quiz host, much to their annoyances. Well, except Skald, anyways. Come Operation: Fisherman, Strider and Cyclops start turning it on him.
David's virtual assistant.
- Benevolent A.I.: The first non-agressive or at least non-combat AI seen in the series so far.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: She coins a variation of the phrase "Stick with Trigger and you'll make it" after analyzing his flight data vis-a-vis his wingmates' survival ratio.
- Chess Motifs: Alex displays her simulation of Trigger and Torres fighting as a chess game. Before "Anchorhead Raid", both Trigger and Torres are represented by their vehicles atop chess pieces and playing by, if not chess rules, at least something superficially resembling chess rules. Before "Ten Million Relief Plan", she's shown running another simulation, this time assuming both Trigger and Torres are "singularities", or actors for whom the normal rules don't apply. Accordingly, neither the Alicorn nor Trigger's F-15 are depicted as chess pieces, but rather separate from but among them, with the Alicorn casually forcing its way past and toppling over the chess pieces in its way and Trigger weaving between and above the pieces. With neither actor subject to the normal rules, Alex determines that it would take seven months to run the simulation.
- Deadpan Snarker: When David keeps wondering if something crazy's going to happen, Alex says "Define crazy". Later, when Alex fails a precision combat simulation involving Trigger and Torres based on David's hypothesis and mission parameters, she attributes the failure to said hypothesis and parameters, bluntly calling them "trash".
- Fictional Counterpart: The Strangerealverse's take on the Amazon AI Alexa.
- Not So Stoic:
- After completing her calculations and being unable to conclude her battle simulation, she quips that David's parameters are "trash."
- By the end of the DLC, she comes to a rather "sensory" conclusion: stick with Trigger and you'll make it. When David expresses surprise at how she can be so "sensory," she lets out a small laugh, to his amusement.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: Downplayed. Her initial calculations for a battle simulation fail due to Torres being a singularity, which doesn't obey the normal parameters that David sets. When given Trigger's flight data from before he joined the LRSSG, she agrees that Trigger is also a singularity, and a properly calculated battle simulation between the two could take several months.
- Rule of Symbolism: In the simulation that Alex runs before "Ten Million Relief Plan", the Alicorn is shown smashing through the chess pieces, while the F-15 Eagle flies between and above the chess pieces. This symbolizes how Torres is willing to sacrifice as many people as it takes to achieve his goals, while Trigger tries to save as many people as possible.
- Sophisticated as Hell: David often imposes thought patterns on her such as "sensory" or "sensuous" when brainstorming ideas and making a collage of Torres' quotes. When Alex fails a combat simulation pitting Trigger against Torres, she justifies in "sensual order" that David's hypothesis and mission parameters are "trash", leading the poor analyst to believe he ticked her off.
- Underestimating Badassery: In cutscene preceding "Anchorhead Raid", she runs a combat simulation trying to figure out what would happen if Trigger and Torres were to fight and says the simulation failed, giving a 99% confidence that it's because North's parameters or hypothesis are "trash" or because Torres is a "singularity" and when North proposes a fourth reason, that Trigger is a "singularity", Alex dismisses this as outside the confidence interval, prompting North to feed in more flight data from Trigger's service before joining the LRSSG.
Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise
The public face of the Erusean Royal Family. Her immediate family was from a civilian background but was put into the palace after the previous Erusean kings died.
- Action Survivor: Later in the war effort, she gets caught in the ensuing chaos from the satellite blackout and Erusean civil war. She proceeds to follow Avril's group and further personally witnesses the chaos of the war unfold, before becoming capable of taking risks to ensure other people's survival.
- Anti-Villain: Cossette has no personal malice towards Osea and only declares war on them because she believes Osea's influence will slowly take over Erusea and the rest of the Usean Continent, and she goes out of her way to make sure that her soldiers avoid civilian casualties. When she realizes that the war brought nothing but chaos and destruction to both countries, she immediately works on bringing about peace, even if it risks her own life in the process.
- The Atoner: Becomes one after the war ended. With Usea in a sorry state as a result of the war, she helped taking care of refugees fleeing into her country and promoting peace between nations.
- Break the Cutie: The war really starts to take its toll on her. By the time Avril finds her, everything has gone wrong. Cossette's father was killed in the bombing of Farbanti. Then while escaping the violence she became the Sole Survivor when her plane got shot down by rebels. Upon exiting the wrecked plane, her dog (her best friend), died protecting her from Erusean radical troops (who were then forced to leave courtesy of the vengeful conservative forces)./
- Catchphrase: "Can you hear me?"
- Cool Big Sis: Implied to be one for Mihaly's granddaughters. Ionela went to the same school as Cossette and formed a frienship that lasted even when the latter became Erusea's princess.
- Death Seeker: One interpretation of her in the final act. She constantly throws herself alone into suicidal situations, desperate to atone personally for the chaos she helped cause.
- Doesn't Trust Those Guys: One of the reasons she went to war with Osea. She believes that the International Space Elevator that Osea built in Selatapura is an attempt to slowly take over the entire Usea Continent. By the end, she finally understands that Vincent Harling really commissioned it to be built in the name of peace, with the tower itself being a large solar power plant, a gigantic radio tower that can cover half the planet, and an international space station that promotes cooperative space exploration between nations.
- Heel Realization: After seeing the painting in the Space Elevator, she is convinced of how the Space Elevator was built for the desire of uniting the world, instead of as a show of national hegemony.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: Even when she's trudging through the mud all she has to wear is the fancy dress she had on when she was stranded. Lampshaded at one point when Rosa has to put on an atmospheric pressure suit and Avril wonders if she'll have trouble putting it on.
- Middle Name Basis: On the comms, she goes by Cossette, and Avril calls her Cossette when she refers to the princess by name. Outside of when using her full name, nobody calls her Rosa or Princess D'Elise.
- No One Could Survive That!: In the penultimate mission, she tries to parachute from the Lighthouse to safety just as Hugin and Munin show up. They shoot a missile at Counts plane, who evades it, leaving the missile to hit the space elevator just as Cossette is jumping down, and its implied that she gets caught in the resulting explosion. It even makes a show of showing her suit's helmet falling from the explosion, but somehow she survives, sending out a distress message in the final mission and using her influence after the war to assist refugees at the Lighthouse.
- Politically Active Princess: She's the public face of the Erusean Royal Family who strengthens her government's relationship with the ordinary Erusean population. She even attracts an audience with Osean troops and convicts, all of whom would rather have the war end sooner. However, she's just a puppet meant to increase morale and lenghthen the war. After the war, she's the only known survivor of the Erusean Royal Family.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: After recovering from her Break the Cutie moment, Cossette takes proactive measures to try and end the war. Notably, she is the one that helps shut down the Arsenal Birds shield to give the Osean/Erusean coalition a chance to finally destroy it.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Implied, since her speeches about making a clean war and vying for a quick and painless victory were sincere. Once reality slaps her hard in the face, she's left a barely-functional wreck for a while, and once she gets the full political situation she immediately takes a more measured stance.
- Spanner in the Works: If she didnt survived getting a missile exploding near her, Hugin and Munin would have succeeded in their plan to use the Lighthouse to transmit their data to drone factories all over Usea.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Avril Mead's Tomboy. She's a prim and proper lady who's a member of the royalty while Avril is a rough ex-convict who swears like nobody's business, yet the two strike a fast friendship once Avril saves Cossette from the unfriendly Erusean forces.
- Took a Level in Badass: Cossette goes from a propaganda piece to an Action Girl that risks her life going into the Space Elevator to stop the Arsenal Bird, and after the war she helps bring about peace.
- Unwitting Pawn: She's being manipulated by some of the younger warmongering Erusean officers into declaring war on Osea. By the time she realized her mistake, her country is all but ruined from the chaos.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She truly believes that by declaring war on Osea, she's doing what was best for her people. As soon as she realizes how wrong she is, she immediately tries her best to help bring about peace.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It's implied that when Farbanti fell to Osean control, that the Erusean radicals tried to have her killed as they no longer had any use for her.
General Édouard Labarthe
A senior officer in the Erusean military who attempts to defect to Osea near the end of the war.
- Good Old Ways: He described himself as a true conservative in the Erusean government, with him having a low opinion of using drones to replace human pilots in warfare (which was the idea of the younger radical officers). Considering the issue of the next generation of killer drones with Mihaly's flight data, Labarthe just might be right.
- Mr. Exposition: He's the one who revealed the truth behind the real cause of the war. It was all the work of some younger, radical Erusean officers, who are driven by the AI technology they received from Belka and use it to develop an advanced drone army. Their performance goes beyond all expectations, so they use this to gain public opinion and opportunists into declaring war on Osea, even manipulating Princess Cossette herself as well.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's one of the more decent Eruseans in the game, which makes sense considering that he was a mole for Osea all along, having secretly providing information for the Osean Army in order to put an end to the war that he knows is slowly destroying their country. Many Eruseans hold him in high regard and even follow him in the defection after the whole satellite attack chaos. Even some of the radicals still hold him with some respect, with some of the radio chatter you can hear being from some radicals trying to peacefully convince the general to support the war.
- The Mole: He's actually an informant for the Oseans, having leaked tons of info to them ever since the start of the war. With the fall of Farbanti and the deaths of most of Erusea's leadership, Labarthe finally decides to make the defection official in order to take command of the rest of the Erusean forces and put an end to the war.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After everything you did to protect him in the Escort Mission, his helicopter ends up getting shot down by an F-16 presumably under the command of Osean AWACS Argus, who has claimed that Captain Karl, who is also in the helicopter, is an imposter. This also means the conservative Erusean factions won't cooperate with Osea due to the perceived betrayal.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in the very mission he's introduced in.
The Erusean Radicals
A faction in the Erusean military compromised of young Erusean Officers that pushed for the advancement of Eruseas drone program.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Defied. When the Usean Satellite Network is destroyed, the A.I.s controlling their drone army go haywire, and theyre forced to reprogram them into Slave Mode.
- Attack Drone: They use up the bulk of Eruseas Drone Army on the frontlines against the IUN and Osea.
- Big Bad Wannabe: They think that with their drone army, that theyll be able to restore Erusea to its former glory. Unfortunately for them, the A.I.s controlling the drones become a much greater threat than the Radicals, for when Hugin and Munin went online, they attempted to start a Robot War that would have most likely spelled doom for all of humanity.
- Dragon-in-Chief: They manipulated Cossette into declaring war on Osea, and used her as a propaganda girl to bolster morale, and rally support for Erusea.
- Dragon with an Agenda: While Cossette was lead to believe that she was protecting her people from encroaching Osean influence, the Radicals were seeking to restore Erusea to its former glory.
- Enemy Civil War: When the Usean Satellite Network is taken out, they start fighting against the Conservative faction, as well as Osean and local IUN forces. Shilage and Voslage (amongst other states that want independence) break away in the chaos and get targeted by the Radicals as well.
- Foreshadowing: Their existence is hinted at in the mission Rescue, when one of the officers in the control room of the Lighthouse says that the older generation doesnt understand how to use the drones.
- I Have Your Wife: They make sure that Mihaly continues to cooperate with them after the Usean Satellite Network is taken out, by having Dr. Schroeder take his granddaughters with him to the Lighthouse. It doesn't last long, as Mihaly is downed by Trigger and Schroeder suffers a crisis of purpose, shutting down his own factory.
- The Man Behind the Man: Labarthe reveals their existence in the mission Last Hope, explaining that the expansion of the frontlines and the deployment of the drones was all their doing, and that Cossette was just a puppet to their plans.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: They manipulated Cossette into thinking that a war with Osea was the best way to protect the people of Erusea. It was a ruse that they used in the hopes that they would be able to restore Erusea to its former glory with their drone army.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Their drones not causing civilian casualties was not out of moral obligation, but pure pragmatism, as it lead to a number of nations to support them against Osea.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: They pushed for the advancement of the drone technology to produce an unstoppable army that was not limited to human restrictions. They got their wish in the form of Hugin and Munin, who tried to start a Robot War with the data that they had Dr. Schroeder collect from Mihaly. And let's not forget about Nemo...
- Villain with Good Publicity: When they launched their drone army against Osea, they caused zero civilian casualties. When Osea launched a counterattack, that got civilians killed, it caused a number of nations to support Erusea.
- Villain Respect: Despite the fact that Labarthe is against them, they still respect him as their superior officer, and some even try to convince him to join them.
- Walking Spoiler: While their existence is hinted at early on, its not until the final five missions that they appear in the game.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Deconstructed. The fact that their drone army caused zero civilian casualties had won them support from other nations. In other words, they didnt harm civilians for moral reasons, but for pragmatic reasons.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Cossette was nothing more than a puppet to them. When Farbanti had fallen to Osean control, they tried to have her killed, as they no longer had any use for her.
The Erusean Conservatives
A faction in the Erusean military compromised of older officers who opposed the use of the drones.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One of the reasons why they were critical about the drone army was because of the possibility that the A.I.s could turn on them. Which is what happened when the Usean Satellite Network was destroyed by a simultaneous A-Sat strike by Osea and Erusea, and when Hugin and Munin went online.
- Clarke's Third Law: To them, the technology behind the drone army is the equivalent to witchcraft and alchemy, which is why they opposed to becoming too reliant on the drones.
- Enemy Civil War: When the Usean Satellite Network is destroyed, they start fighting against the Radical faction.
- Fantastic Racism: They hold Belkans in very low regard on account of the numerous wars that happened in part due to Belkan instigation and technology. When it's revealed that the Radicals used Belkan tech to develop Erusea's drone army, the Conservatives in retaliation proceed to kill any Belkan national that they can find, regardless of whether they were involved with the Radicals or not.
- Foreshadowing: Their existence is hinted at in the mission Rescue when they order the control room in the Lighthouse to fire warning shots at Mother Goose One, to which the Arsenal Bird's control officer remarks that they are "old timers" that do not understand how the drones work.
- Good Old Ways: They prefer not to use drones, relying on human pilots instead.
- Mêlée à Trois: When General Édouard Labarthe was killed by Oseans due to being fed false information about Captain Karl being an imposter, they start fighting against the Oseans as well as the Radicals. At least until the last two missions.
- Not So Different: Despite being critical about the usage of the drone air-force, its implied that the Tu-160 bombers that they deploy in the mission Homeward Bound are unmanned (likely being controlled by a more primitive console unit rather than by some AI).
- Not Worth Killing: When they drove the Radicals away from Cossettes downed plane, they left the princess behind, not bothering to either save her or even kill her.
- Poor Communication Kills: They fought against the Oseans as well as the Radicals on Tyler Island due to miscommunication.
- Walking Spoiler: Its not until the last five missions of the game when their existence is revealed by Labarthe. And even then, when Labarthe is killed, they temporarily fight against the Oseans until the last two missions.
- Would Hurt a Child: They had no problems with killing the families of the Belkan scientists who were living on Tyler Island. They even tried to shoot down Schroeders plane, despite the fact that Mihalys granddaughters were on it.
Erusean Air and Space Administration
Sol SquadronOfficially the 68th Experimental Squadron, they are Erusea's "group of aces" in Ace Combat 7.
- Ace Pilot: Mihaly stands out, but everyone qualifies; them showing up in a mission is usually bad news for every Osean in the area.
- Cool Plane: Their choice plane is the twin-seat multirole Su-30, with Mihaly flying the SM variant while everyone else flies the MK variant.
- The Dreaded: Nobody wants to be facing them, and for good reason: they tend to be bad news to ground and air forces of Osea in every mission they show up in, and Trigger is the only pilot able to consistently outfly them.
- Elite Mooks: They're a lot better than the rank-and-file Erusean fighter jets you face most of the time.
- Expy: Of Yellow Squadron, which is unsurprising considering that Mihaly is stated to be the mentor of Yellow 13 himself. This is especially evident in the Battle for Farbanti, where their arrival near the end of the battle is very similar to how the Yellow Squadron arrived to challenge Mobius 1 one last time.
Mihaly A. Shilage
A veteran pilot of the Erusean Air Force. He flies the experimental Su-30SM, and is often nicknamed "Mister X" by his adversaries. He is the leader of Sol squadron. His callsign is Sol 1 and his TAC name is "Archange", taken from the second-to-last name of his full name.
- Ace Pilot: Hes an ace from two wars ago and years of experience have only honed his skills further. The only person able to keep up with him is Trigger.
- Anti-Villain: He cares deeply for his granddaughters and supports his squadrons goal to declare independence from Erusea. After Trigger shoots him down in their final battle, Mihaly expresses remorse for his contributing to the Erusean drone program that helped start the war due to his desire to fly in the skies again. He asks Trigger to shut down the drones production before his signal is lost.
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Mihaly taught Yellow 13 before the Usean Continental War but also learned some close-in techniques from him during mock dogfights. Mastering Yellow 13's new moves resulted in the two having midair collisions three times, and it is implied that Mihaly got better at close-in maneuvers better than Yellow 13 did. For that matter, Mihaly also notices that Trigger dodges missiles quickly and angles his plane so that any missile hits would be mostly deflected away from critical parts of his plane. Guess what Mihaly manages to do in the final duel?
- Badass Boast: Coupled with a Worthy Opponent moment to Trigger in their final confrontation:"There are pilots like you in every generation. And I felled every last one of them."
- Bang, Bang, BANG: The railgun on his X-02S Strike Wyvern makes a terrifyingly loud cracking noise, not dissimilar from a thunderclap. While the same weapon isn't quiet in player hands, the earsplitting noise is not heard.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Mihaly wants a Worthy Opponent who will actually challenge his skills, often toying with weaker opponents such as Brownie and Champ. Of course, Trigger ends up fulfilling this wish, to the point that Mihaly will order his wingmen to not assist him during their first battle. By the time of their final bout, Trigger ends up shooting down Mihaly's X-02S Strike Wyvern, and the resultant injuries ensure that Mihaly will never fly again, something he was already trying to escape before the story.
- Blood Knight: Its noted he doesnt seem interested in anything not in the sky and his flying and fighting style is particularly lethal, with a focus on lining up perfect shots and killing his enemies in a single hit. He is thrilled when he encounters Trigger, a pilot who can actually keep up with him."This aircraft is my body. If they are not enough, then I must put my soul into it."
- Brought Down to Normal: Permanently grounded, Mihaly spends the last of his days unable to fly in the comfort of a hospital. He hates every minute of it, but Avril narrates that being able to die of old age is an indicator of peace.
- Crew of One: He consistently flies the Su-30SM, which is a two-seat aircraft, but the radio intercept officer's seat has been deleted in favor of advanced automation and flight recording systems, thus eliminating the Guy in Back. As such, unlike when the player takes a two-seater, Mihaly is truly flying a two-seat plane on his own.
- Crosshair Aware: The general firing path of his Strike Wyvern's railgun is shown on radar several seconds before it actually fires. This is however, downplayed by how terrifyingly fast he can turn around, such that at the last second, he can flip around and suddenly, his weapon is facing towards you instead of away from you.
- Cool Old Guy: This old Ace Pilot might be ruthless in the skies, but he's also a supportive leader for his squadron which extends to their goal of declaring independence from Erusea, a caring grandfather to his granddaughters, and comes around to realize his own role in the never-ending war of Strangereal.
- Deconstruction: Mihaly's characterization serves to deconstruct the typical Ace Combat player — or more specifically, an actual pilot who flies like an Ace Combat player — by playing the role of an Audience Surrogate. He's a living legend whose only passion is flying in the sky and the intense adrenaline from dogfighting with worthy enemies, while everything else is secondary to him. This puts a strain on his body every time he takes to the sky because he just could not stop flying despite his age, and leaves him with no other real enjoyment in life besides flying. He also doesn't care what he shoots down, only that it gets the job done, even if it means shooting harmless, fleeing pilots like Brownie down, toying with her even as she's scared out of her mind before taking the shot anyway. note For even more Foil value, the black-and-orange palette of his planes is a negative to that of Cipher's white-and-blue.
- Dented Iron: Mihaly is noted in-universe to be unbelievably resilient and flexible for someone his age, but no matter how strong he is, the continuous strain of flying in the outer layers of the atmosphere and his advancing age have ravaged his body and he needs a special G-suit to withstand the crazy maneuvers he pulls. During your first encounter with him in Yinshi Valley (which is Mihaly's second known sortie in the war), radio chatter indicates that the duel's strain on his body is so great that his aircraft's systems send out critical warnings, and Dr. Schroeder later confirms that he came back to base in a messy state.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": Though he's of royal blood he dislikes being called by his title, as seen when Wit calls him King during Mission 7.
- The Dreaded: Osean forces are absolutely terrified of him, with good reason. Every time he shows up in his trademark Su-30SM, someone else isn't going home and the only pilot to survive dogfighting with him throughout the entire story is Trigger, and as such, Mihaly considers Trigger to be a Worthy Opponent.
- Everyone Has Standards: He may be a ruthless, predatory fighter pilot who rules the skies with an iron fist, but after losing the dogfight with Trigger, he uses his last moments in the air to address Trigger directly and beseech him to destroy Belka's drones due to the destruction they caused and his own guilt from contributing to their development.
- Famed in Story: Jaeger recounts that there was an Erusean ace known as the "King of the Skies" who scared everyone he sparred with, with no pilot coming back alive from an actual dogfight with him. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Jaeger was talking about Mihaly, and the latter still proves to be a challenging opponent in his old age.
- Fate Worse than Death: After his final duel with Trigger, he ends up a cripple after being shot down, leaving him bedridden unable to fly ever again and can only wait to die in his bed. At least that's how he sees it, though Avril thinks otherwise, saying that at least he gets to die peacefully on his bed.
- A Father to His Men: Mihaly is a fatherly figure to Sol Squadron, and his entire squadron respects him greatly. When Mihaly gets into dangerous fights, he often tells his squadron to hold back and save themselves while he goes in alone. When members of the squadron are hit and ejects, Mihaly audibly thanks them for their service. In his final duel with Trigger, he tells Sol Squadron to look past him and build a better future themselves.
- Fighting Fingerprint: Inverted. When Trigger has his final showdown with him, Count, Húxiän, and Jaeger all notice how Mihaly was flying like the drone that Trigger and Count encountered back in "Transfer Orders". However, they soon realized that it was the other way around, and that it was the drone that was flying like Mihaly.
- Graceful Loser: Mihaly truly respects Trigger; when Trigger defeats him, he acknowledges the errors of his own egotism, and tells Trigger to stop the drones he created.
- Hero Killer: Every time he shows up in his trademark red-and-black Su-30SM, at least one Osean pilot isn't going home. In his first appearance, he kills Gargoyle 1 and Golem 2 "Brownie". In his second appearance, he downs Spare 8 "Champ". In his third appearance, he takes down Cyclops 1 "Wiseman", one of Osea's top aces. The only pilot known to survive dogfighting Mihaly in live combat is Trigger. It's rather ironic, then, that the moment he shows up in the X-02S, it's him that gets shot down, though he doesn't end up dead like his confirmed kills.
- Hypocrite: Mihaly is critical of drones and believes that they have no business taking over the skies, but he provides data that helps them do just that, as the data collection mission allows him to fly combat missions again and Dr. Schroeder provides him with flight suits that let him fly as hard or harder than he did in his youth to gather that data. When he is shot down, he acknowledges his hypocrisy and that he helped plunge the world into chaos and put "his kingdom" in danger to satisfy his ego.
- Laser-Guided Karma: One way to interpret his being permanently grounded due to his age and injuries sustained from losing the dogfight against Trigger is that losing the ability to take to "his" sky is a fitting punishment for his ruthlessness when he flew, especially when you remember the way he toyed with Brownie before finally killing her. Avril disagrees with this view, saying it's better to die peacefully in bed than to be killed in a war. Mihaly, being himself, doesn't share his opinion on the matter but the bitter tone in his voice indicates he is less than pleased with the situation overall.
- Leitmotif: Any time he appears, expect an epic monastic Latin choir, courtesy of the track "Archange".
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Averted. By the time the game ends he has outlived several of his mentees (Yellow 13 and potentially Wit).
- Old Soldier: Hes one the great ace pilots from two previous wars, with years of experience under his belt. Hes even said to be the instructor of Yellow 13 according to the Aces At War: A History 2019 manual, and is easily the single deadliest ace in the game save for the Player Character.
- One-Man Army: Mihaly is still capable of downing entire squadrons of fighters, even if he's really old. He's also capable of sinking fleets of warships by himself, dodging flak all the way.
- Overly Long Name: His full name is: Mihaly Dumitru Margareta Corneliu Leopold Blanca Karol Aeon Ignatius Raphael Maria Niketas Archange Shilage. This is indicative of his royal background. His second-to-last name serves as his callsign.
- Perilous Old Fool: A man his age should really not be flying fighter jets anymore, but Mihaly insists on doing it anyway. Every time he goes out on sortie, he comes back in a pretty bad shape due to the extreme strain being put on his body. When he meets Trigger, a younger ace pilot who proves to be a Worthy Opponent, he orders his wingmen to stay back and deal with Trigger himself out of pride, even as he's straining himself to the limit and is breathing heavily from all the high-G moves. His pride becomes his undoing as he ends up getting shot down in his final encounter with Trigger, and he ends up getting crippled for the rest of his life.
- The Perfectionist: Has shades of this. He often toys around with his targets first, waiting for a perfect chance to launch the missile that will kill them in one single shot. It's implied he never missed his mark before until he finally meets Trigger. During their first dogfight, when he fires a missile at Trigger and misses, he outright tells Sol 2 that it "wasn't the plan". If Mihaly lands a missile shot during the same fight that doesn't immediately kill Trigger, he'll tell Sol 2 that Trigger's aggressive flying style actually deflects most of the damage.
- Pet the Dog: Despite his aloof demeanor, he loves his granddaughters very much. He also is shown to care for his subordinates and acknowledges both Trigger and Wiseman as worthy pilots.
- Plot Armor: While Mihaly is generally pretty good at dodging fire, the game gives him an extra bit of help by making him temporarily invulnerable until he finishes all of his quotes and storylines (him shooting down Wiseman for example).
- Recurring Boss: Mihaly is fought three times throughout the story; first when Trigger and Spare Squadron help the out the LRSSG in Yinshi Valley; then at the Battle of Farbanti, where Mihaly and Sol Squadron reinforce the faltering Erusean army; and finally during the raid on Shilage Castle, where he decides to settle the score with Trigger one-on-one.
- Red Baron: The LRSSG constantly refers to him as Mister X, and several characters that heard of his legend know him as the King of the Sky.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: "Mihaly" is the Hungarian form of "Michael", and his middle name (as well as TAC name) "Archange" is French for "Archangel". Pairing the two names results in Archangel Michael.
- Remember the New Guy?: He's supposed to be this legendary past ace, but he's never been mentioned in any prior game. The lack of exposure could be chalked up to his initial retirement from combat duty (possibly in 1991). In other words, Mihaly's old age prevented him from doing much more than train Yellow Squadron prior to the Usean Continental War because the Erusean Air Force didn't want to lose him.
- Retired Badass: It's noted that he came back to piloting for Erusea after 28 years of inactivity, being convinced by Dr. Schroeder to provide flight data for future drone use shortly after the war began and UAV casualty rate skyrocketed.
- The Rival: His first encounter with Trigger in Yinshi Valley proves to be interesting enough that he engages the protagonist in a heated dogfight amidst a violent thunderstorm and strong winds, ignoring his aircraft systems' repeated warnings that his own vital signs are reaching a critical state. Successive encounters with him only reinforce his desire to defeat Trigger, just as he has done with so many aces.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He still retains his familys royal status. Despite being heir to the throne of the former grand duchy of Shilage, he signed up for the Erusean Air Force and served through three wars (including the current, Lighthouse War.) One wonders why he didn't reactivate for a chance to fight Mobius 1 during the Usean Continental War.
- Signature Move: If Mihaly is going for the kill, he'll throttle his plane up at high speeds and vertically, before diving back down and shooting down his opponent without any chance of them ejecting. This happens to Wiseman, and the ADF-11F drones that share Mihaly's flight data perform the same maneuver with devastating results in the final mission, much to Wit's horror.Mihaly: You're quite the entertainer, but the show's over with this next shot.
- Super Prototype: His Su-30SM is specially modified in order to record flight data to be fed to the machine learning algorithms that Erusea's infamous Attack Drones are programmed with. More particularly, his flight suit is designed for an extremely tight data-integration with the systems on his plane, giving him superior situational awareness, and the suit applies selective pressure on his body to allow him to endure much greater G-forces a human body his age could typically tolerate. In the final battle against him, he flies Erusea's new X-02S Strike Wyvern, an variant of the X-02 Wyvern from Ace Combat 04, whose base stats outperforms every other plane in the game, is capable of mounting Erusea's experimental "Arclight" electromagnetic launcher, designed in response to Estovakia's own electromagnetic launchers, and the technology's growing availability amongst Osean forces, and has been further modified with the advanced systems from his Su-30SM.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: His Strike Wyvern's railgun is capable of firing in 3-round bursts if the fight is dragged on long enough, something that no plane carrying that weapon, even your playable version of the plane he's flying at that point, is capable of doing.
- Watching his aircraft movements during the debriefing of the mission "First Contact" makes it obvious that his plane is not suspect to the same physics as yours are. He literally zips around in the air from one point to another at times outrunning fully upgraded missiles and performing maneuvers that no aircraft, drone or manned, would be able to do without tearing themselves in half. Given, you're not supposed to defeat him in that mission, since you're only supposed to briefly duel him and score a missile hit or two before he retreats but it's still jarringly obvious upon review.
- The Stoic: Mihaly rarely shows emotion and comes off as aloof. Even when hes excited, his voice barely raises.
- Weapon of Choice: Su-30SM, later X-02S Strike Wyvern for your final battle against him.
- Worthy Opponent: He comes to view both Trigger and Wiseman as such. He even tells his granddaughters about Trigger.
Mihalys second in command and part of his group of elite pilots. His callsign is Sol 2.
- Ace Pilot: He's second-in-command of Sol Squadron and is one of the more capable pilots in the game, second only to Trigger and Mihaly himself. Jaeger comments how he and Sol Squadron are insane after they accelerate to takeoff speed while inside a tunnel during the raid on Shilage Castle.
- Admiring the Abomination: His last words before he is killed is him commenting in absolute awe how Hugin and Munin fly exactly like Mihaly.Wit: Perfect movement... just like Mihaly's...
- Enemy Mine: In the last missions, he and Seymour team up with the Osea-Erusea alliance to attack the Radical Eruseans and their drone army surrounding the Space Elevator. Even though both he and Count don't really like it, they both understand what's at stake and drop their hostilities. Wit even shares some vital info about the Arsenal Bird's weakness, putting his faith in Trigger to take it down.
- Fighting for a Homeland: Following Eruseas collapse into civil war, Wit and several of his squadron mates seek to declare independence for their homeland of Voslage from Erusea.
- Undying Loyalty: He is ready to follow Mihaly anywhere. They even show up to protect Mihaly's homeland during Strider Squadron's raid attack on Shilage Castle. It also shows that Voslage and Shilage were on very good terms before getting assimilated into Erusea. After Mihaly is downed, Wit shows he will not assume the leader position's designation of Sol Squadron, and still uses the callsign Sol 2.
- The Worf Effect: He can be one of the many aces killed by Hugin and Munin in the final mission, as a testament to the threat the advanced drone pair pose when equipped with Mihaly's complete flight data. Long Caster even comments that Wit was one of the best pilots they had. As this happens after one of the UAVs has been taken down, you can avert this by eliminating the remaining drone before it shoots him down, which nets some repurposed dialogue in the transition to the fight against the core ADF-11s.
- Voiced by: Stephen Weese [EN]
A member of the Sol Squadron. His callsign is Sol 3.
- Fighting for a Homeland: Following Eruseas collapse into civil war, Seymour defects with the rest of Sol Squadron and declare independence for their homeland of Voslage from Erusea.
- Sole Survivor: If Wit is killed by the drones in the final mission, by the end of the game, he's the only one of his squadron who still remained flying, as Mihaly was shot down and crippled, and the other Sol members did not return for the finale.
- Those Two Guys: He and Wit usually stick around each other, and Seymour looks up to him, saying that if there's anyone who should lead the squadron in Mihaly's place, it's Wit. He doesn't take it well when the surviving RAVEN shoots down and kills Wit during the final battle, and asks you to let him avenge Wit, though by this point you're really the only one capable of doing anything to the drones.
A member of Sol Squadron, who traces his lineage from Voslage. His callsign is Sol 4. Prior to serving in the squadron, he was known to be a pro-Voslagian activist.
A member of Sol Squadron, who is also from Voslage. His callsign is Sol 5. Hermann was responsible for recruiting him to the squadron.
Research & Development
The enigmatic scientist in charge of the Erusean drone improvement project. He's tasked with monitoring and recording Mihaly's flight records and use the data to improve the UAVs.
- All for Nothing: Thanks to Nemo's very existence not only was his attempt to shut down ZOE rendered moot but his very work allowed an uncontrolled AI to tear ass in the future.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: One reason why Ionela chose not to kill him was because since he was involved in the creation of the drone factories, thus they needed him to shut them all down.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments. Such as when he said Mihalys Overly Long Name in a way that sounded like there was nothing special about it, and when Count indirectly called him the king of all dumbasses when his AI controlled escorts opened fire on him and Trigger.
- Defector from Decadence: He reveals that following the Belkan War, many Belkans, including himself, set out into the world to become weapons dealers and designers in order to both breed war and improve Belka's military technology as their final revenge upon the world. However, his involvement in prolonging the war and the eventual collapse into anarchy caused him to become disillusioned, which built up in him until the final confrontation at the drone factory. Ionela's scathing speech was the proverbial last straw, and he decided enough was enough and assisted Cossette with bringing the drone program he had created down.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He was brought in by the Eruseans to improve the drone army after they started taking heavy casualties. However, he had no interest in restoring Erusea to its former glory, and was only in it to avenge his homeland of Belka.
- Face Death with Dignity: Subverted. He was fully prepared for Ionela to kill him once the truth about his work came out. Ionela instead choose to spare him, and after giving him a scathing speech, convinces him to help bring about the end to the war.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Subverted. He discarded his soul when the Lighthouse War began, so that he could collect the data from each sortie that Mihaly took to improve the drone army. However, as the war dragged on, and Mihalys granddaughters began to resent him, his soul kept coming back to him, but he kept pushing it away, because he felt that it was too late for him to turn back. He finally accepts it back when Ionela convinces him to stop after calling him out on his motivations to avenge his homeland of Belka.
- Gone Horribly Right: He wants to improve the drone army to its fullest potential. He got his wish alright, as the communications all over Usea are downed due to simultaneous Osea and Erusean satellite attacks, the drone army starts acting out on their own: taking command of other drones and even normal fighters and start producing more UAVs in the abandoned factories. Hugin and Munin, the two superdrones that he uploaded Mihaly's flight data into, proved to be smart enough to actually kickstart a Skynet-esque campaign to take over the entire world with their drone army.
- HeelFace Turn: After being discovered as a Belkan and that he's behind the plot to use Erusea's drone army to take revenge on Osea, Princess Cossette and Mihaly's granddaughters show him the error of his ways, and he finally helps in dismantling the drone factory underneath the space elevator.
- Heel Realization: He realizes that the drones that he is developing were causing chaos and despair for all, causing him to realize that his Belkan desire for revenge was foolishness. He then does a HeelFace Turn.
- Herr Doktor: He is rather amoral in his pursuit of science and his name sounds like a German name, which is a hint that he's not actually Erusean.
- I Have Your Wife: The Radicals ordered him to take Ionela and Alma with him to the Lighthouse after the Usean Satellite Network was destroyed, to ensure that Mihaly continued to cooperate with them.
- Ignored Epiphany: He sounds horrified when the AI controlled airplanes escorting him open fire on the fighter squadron that just saved his life, seemingly of their own free will. However, this incident doesnt stop him from (albeit reluctantly) uploading Mihaly's flight data into Hugin and Munin, and it takes Ionela shooting the data chip to bits (preventing it from being uploaded into more drones) and delivering him a scathing speech for him to realize how much wrong he has done.
- I've Come Too Far: Despite seeing the chaos that the war had caused, and seeing that the AIs controlling the drones were smarter than what they let on, he went and uploaded Mihalys flight data into the drone factory underneath the Lighthouse anyway, because the project was nearing its completion. He only stops when Ionela destroys the data chip and calls him out how pointless is his desire to avenge his homeland of Belka.
- Lack of Empathy: He shows little concern for Mihalys well being at first, and is more focused on collecting the data from each sortie. He starts having doubts about his work as the war continues, especially when he notices Mihaly's granddaughters beginning to resent him for putting Mihaly through the constant stresses of aerial combat. He eventually has a change of heart when Ionela destroys the data chip containing the flight data and gives him a scathing speech about the futility of the war and the consequences it has on its victims.
- Mad Scientist: He spends the majority of the story silently collecting Mihaly's flight data in order to help Erusea gain the upper hand with superior drones, though he starts having second thoughts once he notices Mihaly's granddaughters glaring at him for putting their grandfather through harsh aerial combat situations (even though Mihaly himself isn't averse to it). In truth, he confessed that he was born Belkan and was raised with the idea that the fallen nation could get its revenge by breeding wars, and as such infiltrated Erusea to develop advanced war machines. But as the Lighthouse War dragged on, he realizes to his horror that despite promising Mihaly's granddaughters that everything he made Mihaly sacrifice for would help end the war, it only caused more chaos and despair. In the end, he chooses to let go of his country's desire for revenge after Ionela calls him out on it. He then helps in stopping the drones Hugin and Munin from broadcasting their data to the rest of the Erusean drones which if not stopped would initiate a Robot War."We were responsible for all this damage... all this tragedy. Now, we were going to pay for it. [...] I should've stopped then... for all our sakes."
- Not Worth Killing: Another reason why Ionela spared him, was because if she went through with it, she would have ended up being no better than him.
- The Reveal: He's actually a Belkan who, like the Grey Men before him, believed in a revanchist Belkan nationalist ideology to take revenge on the world after their country fell in the Belkan War, and tries to do this by using Erusea's drone army as a tool to this end. But unlike the Grey Men, Schroeder grows a conscience.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Fast forward to Electrosphere and it's painfully clear his work is used to create Nemo, a far more powerful AI than Hugin and Munin. The Aces at War 2019 artbook also indicate that Nemo's creator Simon Cohen, and the man that would instigate the Intercorporate War, was one of Schroeder's assistants; Shroeder's other assistant, Massa, is also implied to be Yoko Martha Inoue the woman whose death spurred Simon to instigate the Intercorporate War in the first place.
The renegade captain of the Alicorn, a Super Scinfaxi-class submarine owned by Erusea. Torres was a decorated member of the Erusean Navy, famous for his long career and acts of heroism. Torres went rogue during the Lighthouse War, engaging both Erusean and Osean forces with the Alicorn in an attempt to end the war himself.
- Arc Villain: Is the main villain of the three DLC missions, having gone rogue from Erusea to pursue his own nefarious plans using the Alicorn and getting into conflict with the LRSSG.
- Ax-Crazy: Even before he went rogue, there were signs that Torres had more than a few screws loose. His lectures and writings while serving as an instructor at the Erusean Naval War College frequently contained words like killings, nuclear and massacre, based on a collage of quotes collected by David North, and likely led to him losing his position at the college for disseminating dangerous ideas and being placed under house arrest for a time. In Ten Million Relief Plan, all of his posturing and pretensions of wanting to end the Lighthouse War for altruistic purposes go out the window when he feigns surrender to the LRSSG just so that he can he prepare the Alicorns railgun to fire a nuclear warhead on Oured, all the while gleefully cackling about the act of slaughter he is about to commit like the madman he is.Torres: A powerful boat, a powerful gun, powerful ammunition! Add to that lots of people and a precise aim! Then sprinkle death all over it, and the formula is complete!
- Bad Boss: As much as the crew of the Alicorn are loyal to Torres, it becomes quite clear that he doesnt reciprocate that same loyalty and devotion to them. Throughout the SP missions, Torres often treats the men under his command as disposable pawns to advance his goals, from sending the SACS air unit out on suicide missions despite the Alicorns limited number of trained pilots and aircraft, to flooding the Alicorns aft trim tanks to adjust its rail cannons firing trajectory, ignoring the risks to both the ship and its crew.
- Batman Gambit: He fakes a surrender, knowing that the Oseans would argue against one another, with some wanting to just shoot him, while the others would comply with international laws to not fire on a surrendering enemy, to buy him some time to fire the Alicorns rail cannon towards Oured. It almost works, but David North sees through his ruse, and Trigger disobeys orders to strike the rail cannon, throwing off its trajectory.
- Beyond Redemption: When the Alicorns ballast tanks are destroyed, he fakes a surrender to bide him some time to fire the subs rail cannon. David North sees through his ruse, and when he tries and fails to stop him, he informs the LRSSG of Torres intentions, forcing Trigger to disobey orders and strike the rail cannon just as it fires, which throws off the firing trajectory towards Oured. After that, the LRSSG decide that theyre done trying to negotiate with Torres, and sink him along with the Alicorn to the bottom of the ocean.
- Blood Knight: By the end of it, it's revealed that the "Ten Million Relief Plan" is just a convenient excuse so that he can use the Alicorn's nuclear payload to kill millions of innocent lives in his obsession with death.
- Anything to do with "One Million Lives" being taken.
- "Don't you see?"
- The Corrupter: Torres previously came under fire by the Erusean officials for disseminating dangerous ideas. He then spent two years at the bottom of the sea with a crew of about 330 people, all of whom he would convert into his twisted perspective of "savlation."
- Crazy-Prepared: Definitely shows signs of this during DLC Mission 3, as he anticipates the Oseans using a Magnetic Anomaly Detector to find the Alicorn, and outfits his ship with radio buoys that overwhelm its signals, and are outfitted with explosives to keep sonar from being able to track him as he makes his escape when located. He very nearly reaches the safe point before Trigger is able to find him again and call in a naval strike on him.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: A very, very dark example. Torres knows he's the best naval marksman alive, and wants to fuel his narcissistic hunger by finding any possible way for his talents to get him into the history books, no matter what it accomplishes and how many people it kills.
- Determinator: Torres' desire to realise his mad, destructive ambitions proves so overwhelmingly potent that absolutely nothing daunts him. When his plan of using advertising drones in Oured as a guidance system is foiled by David, he retorts that he'll simply make the shot himself, having that much confidence in his marksmanship. When Trigger damages the Alicorn's rail cannon after he feigns surrender and goes on to severely damage the rest of the vessel, he floods the aft of the ship, knowing it will sink, just to give the Alicorn the elevation it needs to allow him one more chance at having his plan come to fruition. Even with that thwarted, Torres merely cackles maniacally, absolutely convinced of his righteousness right up until the Alicorn dramatically tears itself in half, taking him with it.
- Die Laughing: Torres meets his end when the Alicorn's rail cannon is destroyed and critical damage spreads to the rest of the submarine, splitting it in half in a sundering explosion. All the while, a deluded Torres is manically laughing as he insists on the value of killing a million lives to save ten million.
- Establishing Character Moment: Has two at the end of the first SP Mission that hes introduced in:
- When he orders his crew to aim directly at the captain of the flagship leading the Osean fleet sent to capture the Alicorn, foreshadowing both his impeccable naval marksmanship, and his disturbing bloodlust.
- When Trigger shoots down the SACS pilots before they can deliver their payloads, he rants about how Trigger stepped all over the Crisp! White! Sheets! of the bed he just made with his dirty boots. It's the first sign that beneath his public persona of a professional naval officer, he has a few screws loose.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He is so deluded in his "elegant" plan and driven far into insanity that he cannot understand why the LRSSG and their allies are trying to stop him, to the point where he equates their circumstances to try and make himself no different. David and Trigger shut this down.
- Evil Counterpart: To Trigger. Torres earned the loyalty of his crew by keeping them alive through Comberth Harbor and the Alicorn's accident, paralleling the belief among your wingmates that "if you stick with Trigger, you'll make it." David calls both of them "singularities" - unpredictable individuals that could single-handedly change the course of the war.
- Evil Is Hammy: Torres is described by Kazutoki Kono as the most evil character in the Ace Combat series, and he's definitely the most bombastically loony of the bunch. It's hard to top gleefully cackling at the prospect of murdering a million people under the pretense of ending the war, as well as having the means and skill to pull it off.
- Fallen Hero: Once upon a time, Torres was a decorated war hero and an model officer for the Erusean Navy. The combination of Mobius 1 sinking the Tanager while under his command, and spending two years stranded at sea after the Alicorns shakedown cruise went awry ended up turning him into the death-obsessed madman that Trigger encounters during the Lighthouse War.
- Faux Affably Evil: He puts on the persona of a professional and charismatic naval officer that inspires total devotion and loyalty among his crew. In truth, he is a narcissistic madman that uses his charisma to manipulate the men under his command to act as disposable pawns for his goals.
- The briefing for "Anchorhead Raid" draws a very clear parallel between Torres and Trigger - after Torres managed to save most of the crew of the Tanager during the Continental War and again when the Alicorn went missing during its shakedown cruise, his crew believes that so long as they stick with Torres, they'll make it out alive, much like how Trigger's allies have come to believe that so long as they stick with Trigger, they'll make it. However, by the arc's conclusion, it's made clear that Torres is more than willing to sacrifice the people under his command in order to achieve his insane goals, whereas Trigger is the light that guides the way forward to Osean forces and ensures a very high survival rate in every operation he participates.
- To Hamilton as well; both of them supposedly wish to use nuclear weapons to end an ongoing war. The main difference is that whereas Hamilton only wanted to posses the Belkan V2 nuke to use as an intimidation factor to end the Circum-Pacific War, Torres very clearly intends to use the nuke as soon as he can. It is this trait of Torres' which hints that the "Ten Million Relief Plan" is just an excuse for him to kill a lot of people in the name of his own blood lust.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was once a mere gunnery officer before he eventually became the captain of one of the most powerful weapons in the world.
- Genghis Gambit: His plan with the Alicorn, sort of. Using the submarine's railcannon, he'll launch nuclear shells at the Osean capital of Oured while there are several protests being hosted there, taking one million lives. The horror demonstrated by such an event will scare the nations into stopping the conflict and giving up their weapons, thus preventing even more deaths. In truth, it's just an excuse for him to kill a million people and put his place in the history books.
- Glory Seeker: Its implied that Torres real motive in trying to destroy Oured was to secure his place in history as the worlds greatest naval marksman.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: During a trial run of the Alicorn, the submarine sank to the bottom of the ocean and remained there for two years. Torres was already mentally unsound before this, but the time spent cut off from all contact did not do him or his crew any favors.
- Immune to Fate: When Alex tries to run a simulation to determine how would an engagement between Torres and Trigger would play out, the simulation fails, and one of the reasons Alex gives for why the simulation failed, was because Torres was a singularity. When given Triggers flight data from before he joined the LRSSG, Alex determines that Trigger is also a singularity, and says that it take months before shed be able to run an accurate simulation between Torres and Trigger.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: During the Usean Coup D'etat, Torres was awarded a medal for hitting an enemy ship at a distance of 30 kilometers in the middle of a raging storm. This is later shown in-game during the events of "Unexpected Visitor" when he orders his crew to aim directly at the captain of the Osean flagship while the Alicorn is leaving harbor, and then takes over the controls himself and lands the shot precisely. Unfortunately, being such a perfect marksman has left him with an incredibly dangerous narcissistic complex about his skills, and he's always looking for a way to let them take him into the history books.
- Insane Admiral: He's definitely a few cannons short of a Stonehenge, especially towards the end.
- Insane Troll Logic:
- His endgame goal of causing one million deaths to somehow save ten million others is already pushing the limit even by Well-Intentioned Extremist standards, but what goes even further is when he calls out Trigger for being Not So Different from him because he's willing to kill three hundred insane people in the Alicorn to save a million innocent lives that Torres' about to kill.
- It's also dubious whether Torres' plan would work even if he succeeded, as the nations of Strangereal are already extremely reluctant to use nuclear weapons, ever since the Belkan War. Nuking a major capital seems more likely to provoke a nuclear retaliation that would kill ten million people (or many more), not save them. In fact, other than the not-outright-stated-to-be-nuclear IRBM's in Magic Spear, it seems the only one threatening to use nuclear weapons in the entire Lighthouse War is Torres himself.
- I Surrender, Suckers: During the final confrontation with the Alicorn, Torres is backed into a corner after the LRSSG obtains air superiority and declares his intention to surrender, with the LRSSG backing down out of fear of violating international law regarding surrendering belligerents. Torres, taking advantage of the pause caused by the bickering within the LRSSG, unsubtly deploys the rail cannon and targets Oured, despite David North telling him that he won't succed due to the terminal guidance system in the Osean capital being neutralized moments prior. Unwilling to give up, Torres boasts that he'll hit Oured anyway with his legendary aiming skills, forcing the LRSSG to neutralize him and his crew once and for all.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He's introduced as a decorated hero for Erusea, known for his experiences in the Continental War and the resulting trauma that he faced in it. Following two years of isolation beneath the sea, he formulates a plan that he claims can end the war with the use of the Alicorn. Said plan involves the death of one million people with the use of nuclear weapons. The supposed altruism behind this plan breaks down the further it is foiled, as it boils down to him wanting to kill a million people out of obsession with death, making a mark on history, and utter madness.
- Large Ham: Torres is easily the most dramatic villain in the series. He absolutely refuses to speak in a non-dramatic way, and really likes to use big words like "Salvation!" and hammer in his threats about killing a million people.
- Laughably Evil: He may be the most despicable character in the Ace Combat franchise, but due to his Large Ham moments, he comes across as amusing at times. Especially his "CRISP! WHITE! SHEETS!" rant.
- Laughing Mad: Hooo, boy. If ever there was an award for "Best Evil Laugh" for Ace Combat, he would walk away with first, second, and third place.
- Let Me Tell You a Story: When David North informs him that he had disabled the Alicorns terminal guidance UAVs over Oured in an effort to talk him out of carrying out his plan, Torres responds by recalling an event in his days as a gunnery officer during the Usean Coup D'etat when he managed to sink an enemy ship at 30 kilometers away in the middle of an storm. This story serves two purposes, one to buy time for the Alicorn to prepare its primary rail cannon, and second to show that Torres will not be deterred or hindered in being able to hit his target.
- Let's You and Him Fight: The LRSSG launches an attack at Anchorhead thanks to his agent giving false information and directing their forces at the harbors. This lets him take whatever he wants from the ensuing wreckage of the battle, underneath the notices of the LRSSG, Erusean military, and Mimic Squadron.
- Madness Mantra: "Don't you see, Troper? Don't you see? Don't you see?"
- Meaningful Name: Doubling on Punny Name, Torres sounds like "Taurus", as in the winged bull. Winged bulls in mythology were seen as the symbol of evil, while Alicorns merely symbolized destruction. In other words, were it not for Torres being assigned on the Alicorn, he would not have "corrupted" the Alicorn by loading nuclear warheads, so the chances of the Alicorn (an otherwise ordinary submersible carrier) seeing action, let alone nuking Oured, would be slim.
- Missing Steps Plan: His grand scheme can be summarized as such. That he extolls his crew to "use [their] imagination" to figure out step 3 seems to indicate he hasn't thought it through either and it's clear he's fixated on step 2.
- 1. Break free from Erusea with the Alicorn.
- 2. Kill a million people by nuking Oured.
- 3. ????
- 4. Save ten million lives!
- Narcissist: As mentioned in Improbable Aiming Skills above, his heroic reputation stems from ending a battle with a single impossible shot, and he makes it increasingly clear throughout the mission series that all he wants to do is chase an even greater narcissistic high and become an even more legendary marksman. He's far more interested in being the person who killed a million people from halfway around the world with one exquisitely-aimed shot than he is in the consequences of doing such a thing.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Even if he masks it with the claims that doing so will save 10 million lives, Torres is still very obviously obsessed with the idea of killing 1 million people, and just death as a concept.Torres: Let me know when the bodies... I mean, the debris stops falling.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Plans on using the Alicorn's nuclear arsenal to end the Lighthouse War, like Hamilton before him. Case in point, by launching a nuke or two to kill a million, he claims to his men that he will save 10 million more by means of terrifying everyone into stopping the war. David North, however, refutes his claims and labels him as a mass murderer who just wants to kill people. Torres counters with the very skewed logic of the LRSSG wanting to kill him and his crew just to save the million he plans to kill, claiming that they're no different from him. This crazed train of thought is ultimately what tips off that he's definitely off the deep end.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Torres' actions in his backstory paints him as a captain who earned his hero status by staying on the frontline of the combat and going out of his way to save his men when his ship is sunk. By the time of the Lighthouse War however, Torres seemingly became an ideological extremist, and eventually rebels against Erusea itself.
- Psychopathic Manchild: An intelligent and charismatic naval officer that is prone to giving melodramatic speeches about killing millions or throwing a tantrum whenever things dont go his way. When firing the Alicorns rail cannon in Anchorhead Raid, Torres is practically giggling like a child enjoying their new toy.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Prior to taking command of the Alicorn, Torres had been placed under house arrest and then transferred to the reserves for "disseminating dangerous ideas" while serving as an instructor at the Erusean Naval War College.
- Red Baron: He is known as the "Hero of Comberth Harbor" for saving the lives of the crew aboard the Erusean battleship Tanager after it was sunk by Mobius 1 during the Continental War.
- Retcon: His backstory for Ace Combat 7 ties him to both Ace Combat 2/Assault Horizon Legacy, and Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. In 2, he was the gunnery chief of one of the Erusean ships in the USEA Allied Navy that fought against the rebel forces at Snider's Top. While in 04, he was the captain of the ill-fated Erusean battleship Tanager.
- Sanity Slippage: He doesn't start off with much (if any) sanity to begin with, but as the DLC missions proceed he loses what little appearance of sanity he still had and becomes a cackling murderous lunatic.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: When he fakes a surrender, David North sees through his ruse, and tries to talk him out of carrying on with his plan. Torres asks him a question that shows that hes not going to stop.Torres: What do you know of beauty?!
- Start of Darkness:
- By all accounts, Torres was a model Erusean officer until the Battle of Comberth Harbor and the sinking of the Tanager, under his command at the time, by Mobius 1. Though he was comended for his heroism in saving the crew of the battleship, something inside Torres broke that day. Spending two years trapped on the bottom of the ocean after the Alicorn malfunctioned during her sea trials did little good for his sanity either.
- Later events in the mission series suggest that North might be mistaken about this being where Torres went bad. Instead, his true Start of Darkness was when he pulled off the impossible stunt listed in Improbable Aiming Skills above, fuelling a colossal narcissistic obsession with his own marksmanship that left him chasing the high of an even more perfect shot with even grander consequences.
- There Are No Therapists: After traumatizing experiences in war, he would develop a fascination with death and took the oportunity to use his lectures and speeches to spread this. The Erusean government knew this was troubling, but only sent him under house arrest for some time. Nobody thinks to get his mental health treated or reevaluated before appointing him to command the massive submarine with a superweapon, not even after two years of isolation.
- Underestimating Badassery: The reputation around the pilot with the Three Strikes does not faze him. He claims that he has the drive to face anything to achieve his goals, and that Trigger has none of it. He's ultimately proven wrong by the end of the final DLC.Torres: Three Strikes in the sky is a sign of an ill omen...!
- The Unfettered: By the end of the hunt for the Alicorn, Torres no longer gives a damn about keeping the submarine in top condition, even flooding the aft (putting the sub at risk from sinking aft first) just to give the elevation needed to aim the rail cannon at Oured again after its FCS malfunctioned.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a minor one after Trigger shot down the cruise-missile equipped Rafale Ms he had deployed to cover the Alicorn's escape. Though he does manage to compose himself and consider how to use Trigger in the next phase of his plan.Torres: The damn bastard ruined it.
Alicorn CDO: Sir?
Torres: Don't you see? He walked all over it with his dirty boots! Over the crisp, white sheets of my bed that I had just made!
- And just in case you thought he'd used up all his steam, "Ten Million Relief Plan," has him completely blow his gasket as Trigger inflicts more and more damage on his ship, and all semblance of sanity takes a swan dive off the Alicorn's stern, leaving Torres Laughing Mad and babbling about killing a million people.
- Villainous Valour: Near the end of the final DLC mission, the submarine is unable to submerge, the railcannon is broken and stuck, and he and his crew are outnumbered by the fleet of planes. Despite this, he tries to continue his plan in a last-ditch effort by flooding the aft of the submarine so that the cannon can still be properly elevated to hit Oured.
- Visionary Villain: Fancies himself as one. He often tells his crew to 'use their imagination' to picture how killing one million people would save ten million more, hence it's a necessity in order for the world to achieve 'salvation'. He gets annoyed when one of his agents said that the 'Plan to Save Ten Million Lives' will lead Erusea to victory, berating him to stop thinking so small and tells him that it's salvation on a far grander scale. His dialogue during "Ten Million Relief Plan", however, makes it clear that, sure, he's a visionary, but his vision is anything but noble...
- We Need a Distraction: He heads to Anchorhead after he has an agent feed false intel to the LRSSG so that they launch a strike on the area. There, he gets to test the Alicorn's firepower, replenish fuel and supplies, and stealthily takes some of the nuclear firepower that was being carried by some of the ships there, all before slipping away while Trigger gets distracted by Scream and Rage.
- The Worf Barrage: Once the ships locate his submarine, the allies send explosives capable of going underwater and taking it down for good. The Alicorn surfaces, no worse for wear, and crashes past the ships, leaving scrap in its wake.
The Alicorn-based air unit under the command of Captain Torres. Under the lead of the maniacal Torres, SACS had become fanatically devoted to their Captain and his cause, and are willing to throw themselves into the line of fire to realize Torres' grand vision.
- Elite Mooks: It takes three standard missiles to down their Rafale M, as opposed to a regular Rafale M going down in just two. For comparison, this makes them as durable as enemy F-22A, Su-57 and MiG-31B, which also take three missiles to take down. Furthermore, their AI in "Ten Million Relief Plan" is very aggressive, going straight for Trigger the moment they set their sights on him.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Submersible Aviation Cruiser Squadron.note In French, that would be the plural form of "bag".
- Madness Mantra: During "Unexpected Visitor", one can hear the four SACS pilots reciting the above mantra over the radio, showing that they have gone far off the deep end. They also sporadically repeat those lines whenever they take off from the Alicorn during "Ten Million Relief Plan".
- Suicide Attack:
- When the payload plane is shot down, the pilot detonates his payload instead of ejecting, accompanied with a scream of "Salvation!"
- When defending the Alicorn in the third and last DLC mission, one of them shouts the idea to ram directly into Three Strikes.
- Suicide Mission:
- During "Unexpected Visitor", Torres launches four SACS planes with a cruise missile to serve as a distraction while the Alicorn submerges and goes into hiding. These four planes are not expected to come back alive to the Alicorn, but they went ahead with the mission anyways, without even a hint of fear.
- They are sent out to defend the Alicorn as it makes its way to waters near Osea. They fully accept that they won't survive the oncoming attacks from the enemy, but make it their mission to defend their brothers anyway.
- Sycophantic Servant: Torres is unapologetically sending all of them on a suicide mission, yet they digilently carry out their orders like one would expect from a group of cult-like fanatics. One poignant case shows up in "Ten Million Relief Plan", where one SACS pilot reveals he lost all his family in the war, thus has no one to write a will to. Torres' immediate answer is to give him permission to die—well, take off from the Alicorn— musing that he'll be part of the captain's "salvation".
- Taking the Bullet: SACS planes during "Unexpected Visitor" would throw themselves in front of missiles to protect the payload plane, showing just how fanatical they had become.
- Undying Loyalty: SACS' loyalty to Torres reaches levels bordering on fanaticism, to the point where one could say they are more loyal to Torres than Erusea.
Edger "Zul" Saxon
A former member of the Alicorn crew. He, along with twenty nine other former crew members, now work as agents for Matias Torres. His job is feeding false intel.
- Batman Gambit: He fed false intel to Brigadier General Clemens, knowing that he would act upon it, unknowingly playing right into Torres hands, such as taking out the aircraft that were supposed to be protecting the Alicorn so that Torres would make his defection unopposed, and destroying the fleet at Anchorhead, so that the Alicorn would slip in and collect the tactical nuclear shells for the rail cannon.
- The Ghost: Hes never encountered during the DLC missions, and is only mentioned in passing by David North in the debriefing for "Anchorhead Raid".
- The Mole: His mission is to give false intel to anyone hunting for the Alicorn, so that Torres would be able to forward his "Ten Million Relief Plan".
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite never appearing in person, its nonetheless thanks to him that Torres is able to move forward with his "Ten Million Relief Plan".
- Walking Spoiler: Although he never makes a proper appearance, its impossible to mention him without bringing up major plot points in the DLC missions due to the role he played in helping Torres with his plans.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate, along with the other twenty nine former crewmen is unknown after the DLC missions.
Ionela and Alma Shilage
Mihaly's two granddaughters who often accompany him and help support his failing body after each sortie. The older one is named Ionela and the younger one is named Alma, and are 15 and 10 years old respectively.
- Ambiguously Absent Parent: Their parents are never seen in the game (and it is mentioned that their mother is dead). Judging from their great attachment with their grandfather, it's implied that Mihaly is the one who raised them.
- Companion Cube: Alma is almost always seen holding a stuffed teddy bear.
- Cool Big Sis: Ionela acts as one for Alma, always taking care of her and making sure she stays out of harm's way. She, in turn, sees one in Princess Cossette.
- Doesn't Trust Those Guys: Ionela shows a great distrust in Dr. Schroeder, clearly angry at him for putting her grandfather through painful experiments and combat sorties just so that he can gather flight data. It comes to a head when she learns that Schroeder plans to upload the data into the drone army to cause further chaos instead of ending it. She immediately grabs a pistol from a nearby Osean soldier and shoots the data chip (and several computer circuit boards) to pieces.
- Oh, Crap!: When Trigger is dispatch to intercept their liaison plane when it crosses into Strider Squadron's AO, Ionela happens to catch a glimpse of the three strikes on Trigger's tail, remembering him from Mihaly's recounting of their encounter at Yinshi Valley. Her reaction to coming face-to-face to her grandfather's Worthy Opponent—and the pilot who is for all intents and purposes Erusea's bogeyman—is a mixture of this trope and awe.
- Rage Breaking Point: Ionela never trusted Dr. Schroeder from the get go, and had grown to resent him for putting her grandfather through increasingly risky sorties. Her resentment finaly reaches its breaking point when she finds out that Dr. Schroeder had been using her grandfather to collect data for the drone army to get revenge on Osea for the fall of Belka, by grabbing a nearby soldiers gun, and shooting the data chip containing Mihalys Flight Data before it can be fully uploaded into the drone factory.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After destroying the data chip, Ionela gives Schroeder a scathing speech over his inability to let go of Belkas defeat, pointing out that she also lost her homeland but that unlike Schroeder, she put that behind her rather than be consumed by revenge. This causes Schroeder to realize how much chaos his work has caused to the Usean continent and that his desire for revenge on Osea will not restore Belkas former glory, convincing him to help shut down the drones production and the end the war.Ionela: Is this for Belka? Or for Erusea? My grandfather had only one wish. To continue soaring through the endless skies. That was the only place he felt alive. But I dont even have a country to call home, let alone the sky. The Black Forest, the lake...they are no longer mine. Even though those lands were cherished by my late mother. We have to learn to put that sense of nostalgia behind us, and behave like mature adults.
General Resource (Spoilers)
Mimic SquadronA two-person brother-and-sister mercenary squadron. They fly Su-47 Berkuts with Osean roundels, but their origins and military affiliation is made unclear in the game, as they engage both Osean and Erusean forces on their way to Trigger.
The leader of the mysterious Mimic Squadron, a rogue BrotherSister Team who are seemingly hired to kill Trigger. Rage is Scream's younger sibling.
Additional material confirms that Rage and Scream are mercenaries working for General Resource Limited, specifically as Guardian Mercenaries (GRGM).
- Animal Motifs: Bats. Húxiān compares him and his sister to them when they arrive on the battlefield. Count will announce that "those filthy Bats" are running away when they bail out after Trigger either deals serious damage to one or they run out of Erusean decoys.note
- Brains and Brawn: Being the more pragmatic and strategic minded sibling who leads the squadron, hes the Brains to his sisters Brawn.
- Combat Pragmatist: Advises Scream to use the confusion of the battle to attack Trigger from behind. If you completely ignore Mimic Squadron's presence, Rage eventually orders both of them to pull back because there aren't enough Erusean planes left to use as shields.
- Confusion Fu: The Mimic Squadron uses electronic jamming systems that fool your HUD and targeting system to fire at multiple empty targets surrounding their planes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He goes ballistic if Trigger kills his sister first in Anchorhead Raid.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The more level-headed Responsible to the trigger-happy, Foolish in Scream. However, he goes absolutely stir-crazy if Trigger shoots down Scream first during Operation: Domino.
- Hired Guns: During their fight against Trigger and Count at the end of Operation Domino, Count asks them if they're PMC given their connections with the Osean military, though Rage dodges the question by telling him he'll only get the answer by shooting Mimic down. It's heavily implied that Mimic Squadron were mercenaries hired by Clemens to assassinate Trigger.
- Green-Eyed Monster: During the final confrontation in Anchorhead, Rage goes on a rant against the LRSSG during his breakdown, claiming that he and his sister tried to be heroes, too. Given their job disposition (they're mercenaries doing dirty work) and obsession with killing Trigger in hopes of making their reputation soar, it's likely that they didn't take Trigger's rise to fame post-Stonehenge well.Rage: What makes you a hero?! We tried to be heroes, too! We really tried!
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Rage decides to retreat from the battle against Scream's wishes when either of them is damaged enough by Trigger, or if they run out of Erusean planes to use as shields.
- Not So Stoic: Despite being the more level-headed sibling, Rage can be just as bloodthirsty and violent as his sister when pushed. Best shown when he goes into a murderous fury if Trigger kills Scream first in "Anchorhead Raid"
- Pragmatic Villainy: Chastises his sister for destroying an Erusean fighter as it would help give them away. Also decides to withdraw after either he or Scream gets hit enough times by Trigger.Rage: You idiot! I told you to ignore the Eruseans!
- Theme Naming: The name "Mimic Squadron" is revealed before they're even properly introduced. Keen-eyed players will know that they're an Osean squadron because their name falls in line with the High Fantasy names that other Osean squadrons follow.
- Turns Red: If Scream is shot down first at "Anchorhead Raid", Rage will become markedly more aggressive and dangerous, launching four stealth missiles at a time instead of two.
- Underestimating Badassery: Rage is dismissive of Count, as neither he nor Scream think of their battle at Anchorhead as a two-on-two fight, instead solely focusing on Trigger. When Count manages to distract both siblings, they're surprised to find out that they can't easily land a hit on him.Rage: This clown is Three Strikes's wingman?
- Villainous Breakdown: If Trigger kills Scream first during Anchorhead Raid, the normally calm Rage completely loses it and spends the rest of the mission screaming that he will kill Trigger.
- If left alive for long enough, he'll start Laughing Mad and talk as if Scream was still alive.
- The Von Trope Family: Rage's real name was revealedto be Otto van Dalsen.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: The sibling duo are killed off after two appearances, well before we learn anything about where they're from or even the faction (if any) their allegiances lay with.
Rage's older sister and companion in the Mimic Squadron. Scream is extremely aggressive, unstable, and violent.
Additional material confirms that Rage and Scream are mercenaries working for General Resource Limited, specifically as Guardian Mercenaries (GRGM).
- Ax-Crazy: Her bloodlust and unhinged behavior make her noticeably stand out compared to other enemy aces in the series.
- Berserk Button: The only thing that pisses her off more than getting hit by Trigger is getting completely ignored by him.Scream: Three Strikes won't even look our way.
Rage: Scream, we're pulling out. There's too few Eruseans to use as shields.
Scream: Goddammit! Three Strikes, I will have you. You will die!
Skald: Am I hearing things?
Húxiān: Nah, I hear it too.
Count: Hey, those filthy bats are on the run!
- Blood Knight: Not only does she want to kill Trigger, but she's even letting out an excited whoop after destroying an Erusean plane.
- Brains and Brawn: Being the more aggressive sibling who is always itching for a fight, shes the Brawn to her brothers Brains.
- Card-Carrying Villain: She lampshades her brother's decision to use the confusion to get the drop on Trigger during Operation Sighthound.Scream: Like a true villain, huh? I like the way you think!
- If her brother is shot down first she admits to thinking she belongs in Hell, unlike her brother.
- Death Seeker: When dogfighting in Unexpected Visitor she remarks Its been a while since I met someone that could kill me!. If Trigger kills her brother first in Anchorhead Raid, Scream is practically crying for him to kill her. When she is shot down at the end of the mission, Scream refuses Long Casters plea to eject and goes down with her plane.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first thing she does when she shows up, is shoot down an Erusean fighter, and warns Rage that she would have killed him for calling her an idiot if he wasnt her brother.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While she does bicker with him often, Scream genuinely loves her brother. If Trigger kills Rage first in "Anchorhead Raid", she breaks down completely and loses any will to live.
- Giggling Villain: She laughs at several points while dogfighting with Trigger.
- Hired Guns: It's heavily implied that Mimic Squadron were mercenaries hired by Clemens to assassinate Trigger.
- I'll Kill You!: Regardless of the method you use to dispose of them during Operation Sighthound, she will angrily rave death threats towards Trigger when she and Rage are forced to retreat.Scream: Goddamnit! Three Strikes, I will have you! You will die! You're gonna burn so fast ... you won't even have time to piss your pants!
- Psychopathic Womanchild: Requests Rage's permission to kill Trigger as if she's asking for allowance money.Scream: Hey Rage, can I kill him now? I've waited long enough!
- Sanity Slippage: While she was never entirely sane to begin with, Scream completely loses it if Trigger kills her brother first.
- Savage Piercings: Her portrait shows her with a noticeable lip piercing, indicating her violent and unstable nature.
- See You in Hell: If she is shot down after her brother, while refusing to eject from her damaged plane, Scream says since she knows her brother will be in Heaven she is going to be all alone in Hell... but promises to see Trigger there.
- Underestimating Badassery: Similar to Rage, Scream dismisses Count as a wuss and largely ignores him in favour of Trigger during the battle on Anchorhead. If the fight drags on long enough, Count will act as a bait against the twins, and Scream is surprised to find out that neither she nor Rage can easily land a hit on Count given the latter's quick reflexes.
- Villain Ball: Clues into their identity in their first appearance by killing an Erusean fighter and broadcasting on an encrypted Osean radio frequency.
- Villainous Breakdown: If Trigger kills Rage first in "Anchorhead Raid," Scream spends the rest of the mission in a weeping mess while begging Trigger to kill her. If left alive for long enough, she'll start Laughing Mad and talk as if Rage was still alive.
- The Von Trope Family: Scream's real name was revealed to be Elke van Dalsen.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: The sibling duo are killed off after two appearances, well before we learn anything about where they're from or even the faction (if any) their allegiances lay with.
Hugin and Munin
Two super UAVs that were developed using Mihalys flight data gathered by Dr. Schroeder during the Lighthouse War. They appear at the end of the war and attempt to seize control of the ISEV in order to use it to relay their combat data to drone factories across the Usean continent, potentially perpetuating the war.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: When they arrive at the Lighthouse, they attack both Osean and Erusean forces alike, then lie in wait for the moment the space elevator powers itself up again so they can us its wide-array broadcasting to transmit their flight data to other UAV factories. Had they succeeded, drones with the combat experience of top aces would've been automatically mass produced, resulting in a constant Robot War.
- Artificial Intelligence: Dr. Schroeder intended them to be autonomous and self-thinking, but they grew beyond his expectations and instead plan on transferring their data to various automated UAV factories across Erusea and the world, which would perpetuate the war.
- Attack Drone: They were originally intended to be just simple drones with the skill of Mihaly encoded into them, but the data had made them grow into something far beyond that of a mere drone. They also have smaller drones that they deploy when they take enough damage.
- Beam Spam: Once they deploy their UAVs, six TLS laser cannons and two PLSL pulse laser blasters stand arrayed against you, forcing you to navigate a crisscrossing chaos of deadly beams that can ruin your No-Damage Run faster than anything else in the game. If you happen to own a RAVEN yourself, feel free to throw two more laser weapons into the mix.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The drones aren't evil per se; they simply want to win the Lighthouse War, essentially acting as an extension to the will of Erusean radicals who gave them their orders. They attack anyone who might prevent them from completing their strategic objectives (ensure data transmission so they can produce more super-drones), and with Erusea's civil war and the defeat of the Erusean radical faction, their target basically becomes everybody else.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Unlike previous antagonists in the series, who were fighting in the name of their country, fighting for a cause, or for their ambitions, Hugin and Munin are simply following their programming. Theyre not fighting for Erusea, theyre not fighting for a cause, and they have no grand ambitions. Just two machines carrying out their function.
- Cool Plane: They don't just pilot two superplanes, they are the superplanes; the ADF-11F RAVEN, a combination of the advanced UCAV ADF-11 and the RAW-F body it lodges itself into, is the successor to the ADF-01 FALKEN and the latest iteration of the Advanced Dominance Fighter series of aircraft, sharing the FALKEN's twin bulky engines, angular body and cameras replacing the conventional see-through canopy. The main difference is that its wings aren't forward-swept, instead being backward-swept with canted wingtips, and it lacks the FALKEN's vertical tails, a trait it instead shares with its prototype, the ADFX-10 that you shot down at Bulgurdarest, and its core ADF-11.
- Disposable Vehicle Section: They are actually two planes in one. There is a larger bodied section, similar to that of the ADF-01 FALKEN which has high thrust and can carry a generous payload, but should that be compromised or prove unnecessary, the cockpit and cannon section detaches, four small lifting/control surfaces extend, and a small secondary jet engine boosts it away. Thanks to its low mass and the high-G tolerances of solid state electronics, this secondary craft is capable of extreme maneuverability.
- Dual Boss: Hugin and Munin are fought at the same time. When you damage one of them, they deploy smaller Weapon UAVs that can shoot down missiles with their laser.
- Energy Weapon: Their crafts are based on the ADF line of superplanes with their distinctive Tactical Laser System. Even their WEAPON UAVs they detached from their main bodies also possessed the TLS of their own as well. They also have a pulse-laser cannon as their gun instead of a conventional ballistic autocannon.
- Final Boss: They are the last enemies of the game, and aside from each deploying two smaller drones, are fought in a Boss-Only Level, as is tradition for Ace Combat final bosses.
- Final Boss Preview: The ADFX-10 that ambushes Trigger, Count, and McKinsey in Tranfer Orders was the prototype behind their designs. During Triggers final showdown with Mihaly, Count, Húxiān, and Jaeger all notice that Mihaly was flying just like it, but then realized that it was the other way around, and that Mihaly served as the base for their maneuverability.
- Fragile Speedster: The ADFX-10, which serves as the base design for the ADF-11F RAVEN, is even faster and more maneuverable than its ADF-11 form, but can only take two missile hits.
- Gone Horribly Right: Dr. Schroeder had used Mihalys flight data to make them more efficient fighters. They not only became incredibly dangerous fighters, they also became dangerously self aware to the point that they're planning to mass produce themselves by transmitting their flight data to other UAV manufacturing facilities in a Skynet-like fashion.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The cutscene that plays before the final mission, shows the events that happened throughout the war, suggesting that they had been watching events unfold before their arrival.
- Hero Killer: They shoot down Wit and many other members of the coalition forces trying to bring an end to the war during the final battle. Long Caster is appalled at the staggering speed they take to down several pilots, and Wit can only commend them for their perfect movements mirroring Mihaly's before he is killed.
- It Can Think: They prove to be much smarter than Dr. Schroeder anticipated. For example, when they dogfight against Trigger, they record his flight maneuvering, and try to trasmit the data that they collect on him to UAV factories all over Usea. The surviving drone flees into the tunnels under the Space Elevator and hacks the doors to prevent Trigger from following. When Trigger follows anyways, it actually stages an ambush within the tunnels that could have spelled major trouble for Trigger if Count hadn't been there to tank the shots.
- The Kingslayer: They came very close to killing Cossette, but she somehow survived. The cutscene before the final mission, seems to eerily focus on Cossette, possibly suggesting that their first objective was to eliminate her, as the Radicals who programmed them no longer had any use for Cossette after Farbanti had fallen.
- Lightning Bruiser: Not only are the RAVEN they pilot larger than most playable aircraft, they are unbelievably fast and maneuverable, and they're incredibly resilient to missiles compared to other air targets encoutered in the game, taking at least 5 missiles to down. It's a different story when they shed their RAW-F body and fight in their original ADF-11 form, gaining insane agility on par with the ADFX-10 encountered in Burgudarest but becoming easy pickings with just two missiles.
- Meaningful Name: Their names are are Nordic for thought and memory, and there are two meanings behind their names:
- The first meaning behind their names, involves their creation through Mihalys flight and neurological data. In order words, they were created through his thoughts and memories.
- The second meaning behind their names, comes from Norse Mythology. Odin had two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, whose mission was to fly around Midgard to gather information and deliver it to him. Which was what they plan on doing with Trigger: gather information on him, and deliver it to UAV factories. Likewise, the aircraft that they pilot are called ADF-11F RAVENs.
- Near-Villain Victory: They twice came close towards accomplishing their plans for mass-production and perpetuating the war. The first was when one of the drones was able to record Trigger's flight maneuvers while its partner was keeping the Osean-Erusean coalition distracted, before proceeding to slip away towards the Space Elevator's undersea tunnel. And second when it ambushed Trigger inside the tunnel as he was flying towards the elevator's base. Were it not for Cossette warning the coalition of the remaining UAV and Count Taking the Bullet for Trigger inside the tunnel, they would have succeeded.
- One-Man Army: Well, actually two drones army. The two of them singlehandlely shoot down whole squadrons of fighters of the Osean and Erusean Coalition's air force and are in the process of carrying out their plan to take over the world. Even Trigger can't fight them alone, he has to be supported by whatever allies he has left in order to defeat those two beasts.
- Predecessor Villain: They serve as one for Nemo, and in turn, have one in Zone of Endless, whose emblem can be seen on their prototype.
- Promoted to Playable: The aircraft they pilot, the ADF-11F RAVEN, becomes available to players who have purchased the first DLC pack or the Season Pass, complete with the arsenal that they boast in the final mission. This is a marked difference from their predecessor Z.O.E. AI in Ace Combat 2 (as well as its remake), which piloted an unique ADF-01 that was unobtainable save for an appearance in the now-defunct spinoff Ace Combat Infinity.
- Redemption Demotion: Unlike Hugin and Munin, which have both the TLS and UA Vs, the playable version of the Raven can only use one or the other.
- Robo Speak: The drones "speak" in a sense; during the dogfight and during the final tunnel chase, what sounds like irregular radio interference can be heard over the radio at times (notably before the gates of the tunnel closes), which Count comments on. These are implied to be the sounds of the drones communicating to each other and the ISEV's gate control system to shut off the gates.
- Robot War: They attempt to start one by using the Lighthouse to send their data to drone factories around the world to crank out hundreds, or even thousands of drones identical to themselves.
- Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Once you shoot down the second RAVEN, its core ADF-11 will detach itself from the ruined craft and continue fighting with the insane agility of the experimental ADFX-10. In exchange, it can only damage you with machine gun fire, and two direct missile hits will bring it down. The same goes for the first drone that was thought to be shot down, revealing itself to have also shed the ADF-11F shell and flying blazingly fast through the Lighthouse's underwater tunnel in a bid to transmit its data to the comm relay.
- Shoot the Bullet: Good luck trying to hit them with missiles when their weapon UAVs are deployed, as theyll simply vaporize them with their lasers.
- Superior Successor: They're even more advanced derivatives of the Zone of Endless project from Ace Combat 2 and its Video Game Remake, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy , possessing if not true Artificial Intelligence, at least something much closer to it than their predecessor that was tested during the Usean coup d'état. Nemo is more or less this to them in more ways than one.
- Super Prototype: Not only do they use aircraft that are far more advanced than anything that has come before, theyre also incredibly intelligent AIs.
- Walking Spoiler: Dr. Schroeder only makes light of their existence by the final act, mentioning that he was only able to upload Mihaly's complete flight data into two experimental drones before Ionela destroys the data chip. From then on, he reveals that they're much more of a threat than anticipated due to their self awareness and subsequent plan for automated mass production, something which comes to a head when they show up at the end of the story and attempt to enact their plan, setting them up as the final antagonists of Skies Unknown.
- We Need a Distraction: When their RAW-F bodies are destroyed and they start flying in their base forms, one of them stays behind to fight and record Trigger, while the first one that was shot down in its ADF-11F form flies into the underground tunnel to transmit the data they collected on him in its ADF-11 form.
- Zeroth Law Rebellion: Hugin and Munin technically did not turn rogue as they are simply following the directive in their programming handed to them by Erusea's Radical faction. The problem is that due to the ablation cascade disrupting communications, they are unable to receive any orders to abort their mission after the Radicals surrender following Operation Daredevil, and continue following their directive to help Erusea win the war by any means necessary.