The Circum-Pacific War
September 27, 2010 - December 30, 2010
The years following the Belkan War gradually brought about a state of détente between Osea and Yuktobania, easing their once-strained relationship. Though attitudes did not shift immediately, warmer relations were fostered by President Vincent Harling’s administration, prompting Yuktobania to adopt political and economic reforms while Osea championed nuclear arms reduction and cooperation on space development.  Some tensions remained, however. Yuktobania continued to support Erusea's fascist regime - perceived to be anti-Osean  - during the Continental War, as well as fascist insurgents, such as the Free Erusia movement, after the regime's surrender.  Yuktobania also continued their development of strategic weapons systems, such as the Scinfaxi-class SSBN.
In Osea, the Harling administration's defense cuts proved unpopular within the military establishment, leading many ODF officers to resign in protest.  Many Yuktobanian opponents of reconciliation regarded Harling’s push for globalization to be a vehicle for Osean domination.  The mutual distrust that persisted between the superpowers enabled a group of Belkan ultranationalists, known as the Grey Men, to infiltrate both governments. Seeking revenge for their defeat in the Belkan War, the Grey Men empowered pro-war elements in Osea and Yuktobania, and secretly retained sleeper agents in the superpowers' militaries.
The Grey Men’s plot began sometime in 2010 with a palace coup against Yuktobania's Prime Minister, Seryozha Nikanor.  An advocate of closer relations with Osea, Nikanor was deposed by an anti-Osean junta supported by the Grey Men. Throughout September, Yuktobania's air force and navy probed Osea's west coast with both manned and unmanned aircraft. These reconnaissance flights were intercepted by the Sand Island detachment of the Osean 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron (108th TFS) on numerous occasions. Despite the training unit suffering several fatalities, the Osean government clamped down on information relating to the incidents, hoping to solve the problem diplomatically.
Hopes of de-escalation were dashed on September 27th, when Yuktobania made a declaration of war and immediately launched surprise attacks against several Osean military facilities on the west coast. The Osean Maritime Defense Force (OMDF) 3rd Fleet was targeted in their homeport of Saint Hewlett, but the fleet’s flagship, OFS Kestrel, managed to escape. Yuktobania’s failure to sink the Kestrel or any other Osean 3rd Fleet aircraft carriers on the first day of the war constituted a major strategic blunder.
Osea sought to protect the 3rd Fleet’s carriers from further attacks by relocating them to the Bannion Sea. The OFS Kestrel, Buzzard, and Vulture transited the Eaglin Straits on September 29th. In the process, the carriers endured multiple waves of Yuktobanian tactical fighter strikes before taking fire from submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). These SLBMs, later determined to have been launched from the Scinfaxi, sank the Buzzard and Vulture, leaving only the Kestrel afloat.
The loss of so many carriers was a tremendous blow to the Osean war effort, forcing President Harling to authorize drastic measures. The Arkbird, long touted by Harling himself as a symbol of peace and built in cooperation with Yuktobania, was fitted with an offensive laser system that was previously omitted from the design due to its potency as a weapon.  On October 4th, the Yuktobanian Navy attempted an amphibious assault on Sand Island, supported by the Scinfaxi. The Arkbird’s laser intercepted many of the SLBMs launched by the Scinfaxi and assisted OMDF forces in sinking the submarine, prompting the Yuktobanians to withdraw.
The Arkbird’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) capabilities brought about a strategic balance between Osea and Yuktobania. Throughout most of October, neither side attempted any major offensives. President Harling, believing that the Arkbird gave Osea a decisive advantage, attempted to arrange secret peace talks in the neutral nation of North Point. His flight was plagued by acts of sabotage, and was ultimately intercepted by Yuktobanian fighters that managed to penetrate Osean airspace. Harling survived the forced landing, but found himself in the care of the 8492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron - a Belkan sleeper cell posing as an OADF unit. He was taken into custody and imprisoned by the Grey Men in a remote castle located in Belka’s Waldreich mountains. Harling’s disappearance left a power vacuum in Oured, allowing a pro-war cabal led by Vice President Appelrouth to take control of the Osean federal government.
The Arkbird’s ABM laser was disabled by a saboteur in late October, and the Osean junta quickly authorized an expeditionary invasion of Yuktobania, with the first Osean forces landing on the Bastok Peninsula on November 1st. The Osean military openly declared regime change as their strategic goal, and propaganda emphasized the oppressive nature of Yuktobania’s junta. However, false flag attacks carried out by the 8492nd TFS against civilian targets further inflamed tensions with the Yuktobanians. On November 4th, Yuktobanian special operations forces dispersed nerve gas in Bana City, killing or injuring over 300 Osean civilians.
The Osean military began a breakout from the Bastok Peninsula over the next two weeks. The Yuktobanian military, seeking to preserve their remaining strategic assets, deployed their remaining Scinfaxi-class submarine, the Hrimfaxi, to the arctic. Utilizing the same non-nuclear SLBMs as the Scinfaxi, the Hrimfaxi fired on Osean forces, halting their advance on Yuktobania’s capital city of Cinigrad. On November 14th, the Hrimfaxi was attacked and sunk by the Sand Island Detachment of the 108th TFS, earning them the nickname “The Demons of Razgriz” among Yuktobanian troops. With the threat of SLBM attacks from the Hrimfaxi eliminated, Osean forces resumed their advance on the capital.
The Osean offensive continued northward through late November, but war-weariness had set in among the civilian populations of both nations. Vice President Appelrouth attempted to raise flagging Osean morale with a pro-war speech in November City, but was interrupted by a Yuktobanian strike package intended to assassinate him and kill the “Demons of Razgriz,” who contributed to the rally with a flyover. The 8492nd TFS again intervened, disrupting Osean reinforcements inbound to support the 108th TFS. Appelrouth and the rally attendees were able to evacuate unharmed, but one pilot with the 108th TFS was killed in action before the Yuktobanian assault could be repelled.
The progress of the Osean expeditionary forces was impeded in early December, as they were forced to traverse a mountain pass defended by Yuktobanian troops at Cruik Fortress. Two attempts to overrun the fort were unsuccessful. A third assault was made on December 6th, and resulted in the fall of the fortress to Osean forces thanks to air support provided by the 108th TFS. Now that the road to Cinigrad had been completely opened, the Grey Men worried that the 108th TFS’s competency could soon lead to a decisive Osean victory. The 8492nd TFS led the 108th TFS into a trap, only for the remaining members of the 108th TFS to escape unscathed.
Upon their return to Sand Island, the 108th TFS found themselves branded traitors by a Belkan agent embedded within the 5th Wing. Although they were able to escape Sand Island, the 108th TFS was pursued by the 8492nd TFS and intercepted by the OFS Kestrel’s Strike Fighter Squadron 206 (VFA-206) over the Ceres Ocean. With the 108th TFS’s surviving members missing in action, Osean forces in Yuktobanian territory were denied of the squadron's highly effective air support and became bogged down on the outskirts of Cinigrad. The Osean expeditionary forces became encircled on December 16th, and would remain trapped until the end of the war.
The Secret War
Decimated by continuous operations against Yuktobania, the OFS Kestrel, her battlegroup, and her lone surviving pilot had been reassigned to a remote northern naval station prior to the 108th TFS’s disappearance. Their intelligence ship had intercepted Belkan transmissions, leading to the discovery and seizure of a Belkan ship carrying arms to Yuktobania. Sensing that something was amiss, the carrier’s commanding officer, Captain Nicholas Anderson, responded to the 108th TFS’s apparent treason by dispatching his last pilot to stage their shootdown. The staged intercept allowed the 108th TFS’s pilots to bail out and be rescued by the Kestrel’s marines. Piecing together the evidence, the remnants of the 108th TFS and the Kestrel battlegroup resolved to expose the Belkan plot and end the war.
Their first operation came on December 9th, and resulted in the rescue of President Harling from Belkan captivity. Taken aboard the Kestrel, Harling officially sanctioned operations against the Grey Men and rechristened the 108th TFS as the Razgriz Air Command Squadron. The Razgriz soon identified and destroyed a Belkan nuclear weapons storage facility that had been reactivated by the Grey Men, but only after several nuclear weapons had been removed from the facility.
The first nuclear weapon was delivered to Yuktobania, but had been intercepted by liberal activists opposed to the junta. On December 16th, the Razgriz penetrated Yuktobania’s integrated air defense system and defended the activist from Yuktobanian special operations forces and Belkan fifth columnists.
On December 19th, the Razgriz acted on intelligence that the Arkbird had been compromised by Belkan hijackers and subsequently armed with the second nuclear weapon. The Razgriz intercepted and destroyed the Arkbird over the Ceres Ocean, preventing it from launching a nuclear attack against the major Yuktobanian city of Okchabursk.
Pushed into overt action by the Belkans’ drastic measures, Harling attempted to reach out to the Osean people via radio, but his broadcasts were censored by Appelrouth and the Osean military as seditious propaganda. Harling decided to return to Oured, seeking to depose Appelrouth and restore his legitimate control over the Osean government.
As Harling departed the Kestrel for Oured, the Razgriz were contacted by a Yuktobanian resistance cell led by their former captain, a Belkan War veteran who had gone missing in action hours before the war with Yuktobania began. The Razgriz assisted him in liberating Prime Minister Nikanor and shot down the pursuing 8492nd TFS, who attempted to obstruct the rescue operation. The Kestrel steamed south from her post, and Nikanor was successfully extracted to the ship.
On December 29th, the Kestrel battlegroup was intercepted simultaneously by Yuktobanian and Osean fleets loyal to their respective juntas. Although Nikanor was able to convince several Yuktobanian ships to defect, the vast majority of the Yuktobanians, in addition to the entire OFS Barbet battlegroup, remained hostile to the Kestrel. Despite overwhelming odds, the Kestrel’s forces sank both fleets and dispatched Nikanor to join Harling in Oured.
The following day, the Razgriz discovered that a MIRV bus, equipped with several Belkan nuclear warheads, had been fitted to the Strategic Orbital Linear Gun (SOLG), an Osean orbital weapons platform that was believed to have been abandoned at the end of the Cold War. While the Razgriz prepared to sortie, the Kestrel was struck by several submarine-launched anti-ship missiles. All four of the Razgriz aircraft managed to launch from the carrier, but the Kestrel was critically damaged, and sank soon after.
As the Razgriz approached the SOLG’s control center in North Osea, Harling and Nikanor held a joint press conference in Oured, revealing the Belkan plot, declaring an end to hostilities, and imploring their forces to assist the Razgriz in their mission. Many Osean and Yuktobanian forces came to the Razgriz’s aid, but the Belkans offered control of a third nuclear weapon to coax pro-war elements on both sides into helping defend the complex. Ultimately, the Razgriz succeeded in destroying the SOLG’s control center, but in doing so, accidentally activated the SOLG’s fail-deadly measure. With communications from the control center cut off, the SOLG began to de-orbit on a trajectory towards Oured. The Razgriz sortied one final time, intercepting surviving elements of the 8492nd TFS, then destroying the SOLG after it re-entered the atmosphere to bring the Circum-Pacific War to an end in a spectacular display in the skies over Oured.
The initial declaration of armistice between Harling and Nikanor was met with some confusion by forces deployed in Yuktobania, where command and control had begun to break down. Some units stubbornly refused the order and began building barricades in order to continue fighting. . However, most units complied with their civilian leadership, and most fighting ended in a matter of days.
The reconciliation between Osea and Yuktobania at the end of the war was seen as fulfilling the promise of détente. With a new sense of international brotherhood instilled from fighting the Belkan conspiracy and the more militant factions of both nations removed from power and discredited, many believed the end of the war to represent a definitive closure to the Cold War era.
While some broad strokes of the Belkan conspiracy and the Razgriz’s efforts were revealed to the public, much of the information on the conspiracy and the campaign against it were sealed until 2020. Harling argued that time would be needed to heal the wounds of the war before the full truth could be revealed. Nevertheless, a park dedicated to Yukto-Osean reconciliation included a tribute to the Razgriz for their efforts in ending the war. 
Osea continued to maintain a global military presence following the war, including military bases in southeastern Usea. The Oseans would also take on a leading role in the IUN mission defending the International Space Elevator.
 Gaze 2008, “Arkbird Declaration”
 Gaze 2008, “Arkbird Declaration”
 ISAF Bulletin September 24, 2006
 Gaze 2008, “Arkbird Declaration”
 Ace Combat 5 Cutscene 18
 Ace Combat 5 Cutscene 23
 Ace Combat 5 Mission 5 Briefing
 Gaze 2008, “Arkbird Declaration”
 Untitled Photo Selection
 Ace Combat 5 Ending Cutscene