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The following information is from a video game, and may or may not be factual or accurate.

Ace Combat is, naturally, famous for its aircraft, which are fully licensed by Namco from their manufacturers. Their equipment, however, is not, and have generic names like XLAA for "Advanced Long Range Air to Air missile".

Note that italicized armaments are special weapons.

The second number listed in the cost is the amount for the additional paint schemes.

F-4E Phantom II[edit]

Picture
Armament650 GUN, 52 MSSL
8 UGBM, 6 NPB
TypeFighter
Cost76000, 99000

The F-4 is the starting plane and is therefore not very impressive. Compared to other aircraft, it does have its strengths - a high missile storage and bombs you'll find effective on the second and third missions of the game. It is otherwise, however, unremarkable.

Official Description: Large carrier-based jet designed to shoot down enemy aircraft and destroy ground targets.

F-5E Freedom Fighter[edit]

Picture
Armament650 GUN, 48 MSSL
12 UGBS, 64 RCL
TypeFighter
Cost52000, 68000

Roughly equivalent to the F-4, the F-5 seems at first glance to be superior to the F-4. While this is true in several senses, several points should be made. Firstly, the F-4 carries additional missiles, letting a novice player be less stingy with them. The F-5 is more manoeuvrable, but can't take as much damage than the F-4. Therefore, if you feel confident in your ability to dodge missiles, the F-5 may be your plane for a while - at least until you upgrade to the F-16.

Official Description: Low cost, lightweight fighter with respectable capability in all areas. Easy to fly and maintain.

F-16C Fighting Falcon[edit]

Picture
Armament700 GUN, 52 MSSL
14 UGBS, 12 XAGM
TypeFighter
Cost97000, 126000

The F-16C is one of the best starting planes available. A significant upgrade to the F-4E, the Fighting Falcon has similar bombs to the F-4, and the XAGM isn't anything to scoff at either - particularly against targets which are only vulnerable from high altitudes. The price for increased performance is its lesser stability - so you may find it stalls at higher speeds.

Official Description: Small and lightweight, this jet is a well-balanced fighting machine for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat.

A-10A Warthog[edit]

Picture
Armament850 GUN, 56 MSSL
12 UGBL, 16 XAGM, 12 CLB
TypeAttacker
Cost123000

For missions like Whiskey Corridor where most of the enemies you'll encounter are on the ground, you'll find the A-10 well worth its price. Its high ground attack value lets it lock quickly onto targets on the ground, and its UGBLs can seriously wreak havoc on groups of enemies.

Official Description: This ground attack fighter is well equipped for its role with a large Vulcan cannon and air-to-ground weapons.

MIR-2000 Mirage[edit]

Picture
Armament700 GUN, 52 MSSL
16 UGBS, 10 LASM
TypeFighter
Cost111,000, 143,000

Unlike subsequent iterations of the Mirage from the next few games, the Mirage here is the fighter variant. Despite this, however, you may find existing aircraft just as good as this one, so you may want to skip buying it. With the A-10 for ground attack and the soon-to-come F-14 for air combat needs, chances are you're going to ignore this plane for the most part and buy it later for completion's sake.

Official Description: Great multi-role fighter that incorporates the latest technology to compensate for delta-wing design.

F-14A Tomcat[edit]

Picture
Armament750 GUN, 64 MSSL
16 XLAA, 10 UGBM
TypeFighter
Cost188000, 244000

The F-14A is the ideal plane for the next several missions, especially for Shattered Skies. Although its stats suggest it as a pure air combat fighter, the UGBMs you can buy make the F-14 a pretty good attacker too. Although the F-14 is a good plane with lots of versatility, it will be unable to perform to the standard you'll need for later missions against the Yellow Squadron.

Official Description: Carrier-based air superiority fighter. This jet can attack multiple targets simultaneously.

TND-IDS[edit]

Picture
Armament750 GUN, 58 MSSL
12 BDSP, 8 PGB, 12 LASM
TypeAttacker
Cost172000, 224000

The Panavia Tornado IDS (Interdictor Strike) is a decent all-around plane, and of all the ground-attack planes is the best at air-to-air combat - at least until the Mitsubishi F-2. There are more capable planes that secede it, however, so first-time players may want to save their money for a more capable aircraft. Its default special weapon is tough to use, and doesn't cause as big of a bang as the UGBL. That said, it doesn't stall easily and can withstand a beating like the A-10. It remains a question of taste, therefore, whether to obtain the Tornado.

Official Description: Multi-role fighter that features both air-to-air and air-to-ground capability.

F/A-18C Hornet[edit]

Picture
Armament700 GUN, 60 MSSL
10 UGBM, 14 LASM, 14 XMAA
TypeMultirole
Cost170000, 221000

The Hornet is the first truly multirole aircraft. Its weapons loadout is extremely versatile - XMAAs for air-to-air fights, UGBMs for clustered enemy targets, and LASMs for dealing with SAM sites from long range, or the SAM-equipped cruisers in Invincible Fleet. It is quite feasible for slightly above-average players to beat the entire game using the Hornet.

Official Description: Multi-role carrier-based fighter. Able to carry virtually every weapon ever made.

F-15C Eagle[edit]

Picture
Armament800 GUN, 68 MSSL,
12 UGBM, 16 XMAA
TypeFighter
Cost272000, 354000

The Eagle is essentially a drastically souped-up version of the F-16 - capable of bombing and fighting, but more slated to fighting. The F-15E, however, is superior in every respect and the Typhoon is coming up soon, which will likely replace your F-15C if you decide to get one. The Hornet will satisfy your multirole needs for a while.

Official Description: With the perfect balance of power and maneuverability, this jet is the best air superiority fighter available.

MiG-29A Fulcrum[edit]

Picture
Armament750 GUN, 64 MSSL
18 UGBS, 72 RCL
TypeFighter
Cost259000, 337000

Regrettably the MiG's sole appearance in this game isn't a notable one. It doesn't turn very well and its armament is somewhat lacking - it is beaten in practically every way by the Hornet and in many respects, the Eagle.

Official Description: Highly maneuverable mid-sized fighter with a large payload. Performs well in both air-to-ground and air-to-air roles.

F-117 Nighthawk[edit]

Picture
Armament650 GUN, 54 MSSL
14 PGB, 14 UGBL, 14 CLB
TypeAttacker
Cost386000, 502000

Although many players will choose the Nighthawk for its appearance, its appearance is its only real advantage. The stealth feature, while nice, is more of an annoyance for the enemy than a real game-breaker as it can be in real life. It is otherwise comparable to the Tornado, but fortunately doesn't sport the difficult to use bomblet dispenser.

Official Description: Although difficult to detect by radar, this stealth attacker is limited by a small payload capacity.

EF-2000 Typhoon[edit]

Picture
Armament800 GUN, 68 MSSL
16 XLAA, 14 UGBM
TypeFighter
Cost351000, 456000

The next generation of fighters, the Typhoon is well worth the jump in price and it is the choice of many players, even in future installments. In Versus mode and in skilled hands, it can even down more advanced planes like the F-22.

Official Description: Delta-wing air superiority fighter with high-tech canards that adjust for different altitudes.

Rafale M (R-M01)[edit]

Picture
Armament800 GUN, 64 MSSL
14 SOD, 18 XMAA, 16 LASM
TypeFighter
Cost370000, 481000

Having likely just acquired the Typhoon, the Rafale will likely sink to the bottom of the barrel for a while. The Strike Eagle will soon be available, followed by Mobius 1's canonical aircraft, the Raptor. These planes make the Rafale unfortunately sub-par for an aircraft obtained this late in the game. Its LASMs, however, can still be employed to good effect against pesky SAM sites.

Official Description: Delta-wing carrier-based fighter with a large payload. Leading edge canards make it highly maneuverable.

F-15E Strike Eagle[edit]

Armament850 GUN, 72 MSSL
14 UGBL, 20 XMAA, 14 CLB
TypeMultirole
Cost505000, 657000

The F-15E is, for the cases of this game, an upgraded version of the F-15C. Despite it actually being a ground-attack version of the F-15C, the F-15E in this game is one of the best multirole aircraft available. Its strong overall stats make it well suited for missions like Emancipation which have equal parts of air and ground combat. However, for the last three missions, you'll want a more specialized aircraft.

Official Description: Advanced air-to-ground avionics and weapons provide this air superiority F-15 with great anti-surface capability.

F-2A[edit]

Armament800 GUN, 68 MSSL,
16 UGBM, 18 LASM, 80 RCL
TypeAttacker
Cost505000, 657000

The F-2A is the Japanese version of the F-16. It sports the best (or second best) air-to-air power for an Attacker in the game, being tied or roughly equivalent to the Tornado. The F-2 has overall better stats, however. You won't use the F-2 much for when it appears, though; it's mostly the early missions that involve both air and ground combat, and later missions involve either air or ground combat and not both (in the case of Siege of Farbanti, you will want the most dedicated air-to-air fighter possible).

Therefore, players are split as to whether or not to obtain the F-2. Official Description: A great support fighter, this F-16 boasts advanced avionics and an alloy body.

Su-35 Flanker-E[edit]

Armament850 GUN, 72 MSSL
18 XLAA, 16 UGBM
TypeFighter
Cost589000, 766000

Official Description: An exceptional multi-role fighter. High-tech canards provide superior manoeuvrability in air combat.

F-22A Raptor[edit]

Armament850 GUN, 74 MSSL
22 XMAA, 16 PGB
TypeFighter
Cost643000, 836000

Official Description: An exceptional fighter with superior maneuverability, payload, stealth, supersonic cruise, and thrust vectoring.

Su-37 Flanker-F[edit]

Armament850 GUN, 78 MSSL
8 QAAM, 16 UGBL, 20 LASM
TypeFighter
Cost618000, 803000

Official Description: An improved version of the Su-35. Rear-radar and thrust vectoring nozzles provide unrivaled power in air combat.

F-15 ACTIVE (F-15S/MTD)[edit]

Armament900 GUN, 78 MSSL
22 XMAA, 8 FAEB
TypeFighter
Cost620000, 806000

ACTIVE stands for Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles. Later iterations of Ace Combat use the F-15S/MTD instead, which stands for Short Takeoff and Landing/Maneuver Technology Demonstrator. Both are exceptional aircraft. The F-15 ACTIVE sports the all-mighty FAEB, which is the most powerful bomb in the game. A single FAEB will clear out a huge swath of enemies, and is ideal for missions like Whiskey Corridor.

Official Description: The most manoeuvrable F-15 with thrust vectoring nozzles, ACTIVE, and forward-swept wings.

S-37A (Su-47 Berkut)[edit]

Armament900 GUN, 78 MSSL
10 QAAM, 18 UGBL
TypeFighter
Cost889000, 1560000

Official Description: Unique forward-swept wings and canards provide unmatched turning ability. It also has some Stealth ability.

X-02 Wyvern[edit]

Armament950 GUN, 82 MSSL
26 XLAA, 24 BDSP, 16 QAAM
TypeMultirole
Cost1414000, 1838000

The X-02 is the game's super-plane that can only be obtained through beating the game on Normal difficulty, obtaining the S rank for all missions. Additionally, the game must be beaten twice before. Regardless, it is clearly the best plane in the game with all significant stats at their maximum - its biggest limiting factor is its cost and its lack of defence, which is roughly equivalent to an F-4E. However, with its turn-on-a-dime manoeuvres, players should have few problems evading most attacks anyway.

Official Description: A Stealth aircraft built with the latest technology. Boasts total air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capability.