Strider Squadron

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"They're sending the squadron that defended Stonehenge? Are you sure about this?"
Erusean sailor[1]

Strider Squadron, officially the 124th Tactical Fighter Squadron,[2] and also referred to as the "Snowbirds",[3] was a unit in the Osean Air Defense Force's Long Range Strategic Strike Group (LRSSG).

Throughout the Lighthouse War, Strider Squadron became renowned for its many accomplishments, most notably defending Stonehenge and bringing down the Arsenal Bird Liberty. Strider's actions often decided the outcome of many battles during the war.

Strider Squadron was the player's squadron throughout the latter half of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.


Return from Stonehenge

Following a reconnaissance mission to the Stonehenge ruins, Strider and Cyclops squadrons' return route changed to Yinshi Valley due to unknown factors. Shortly before entering the valley, they came under pursuit by Erusean MQ-99s, and Spare Squadron was deployed to cover their retreat. With Trigger acting as the rear guard, all Strider aircraft successfully exited the combat airspace. Following Trigger's engagement with Mister X, AWACS Bandog guided the LRSSG back to the 444th Air Base, with only Jaeger, Wiseman, and Húxiān surviving the mission.[4]

New leadership

Following Operation Full House, Trigger, alongside his wingman Count, was transferred to the LRSSG under the request of Wiseman and was appointed the new flight lead of Strider Squadron, alongside new members Skald and Lanza.[2]

Strider Squadron alongside Cyclops Squadron

On August 10, 2019, aiming to weaken the Erusean Royal Navy, the LRSSG carried out a strategic strike on the Erusean forces stationed at Snider's Top. During the operation, Strider played a key role in sinking the Njord Fleet and destroying both military platforms. Initially, Strider's original members were skeptical of Trigger's leadership, however, after witnessing his skill during the operation, they wholly accepted their new leader. It was during the operation that Strider was first referred to as the "Snowbirds", due to their propensity for long-range attacks.[2]


Nine days later, Strider played a key role in defending the last remaining Stonehenge turret as it prepared to fire upon Arsenal Bird Liberty. After the railgun's spotter was rendered ineffective, Trigger, alongside Wiseman, crippled Liberty by destroying its main propellers, allowing Stonehenge to shoot it down.[5]

In the following operation, Operation Magic Spear, Strider alone was tasked with assisting Osean bombers in destroying Erusean IRBM silos by guiding the bombers' munitions to their targets. After destroying the main silos, it was revealed that Erusea had been hiding multiple IRBMs underneath a dam and subsequently launched the. Trigger ultimately shot down each missile before they reached critical altitude.[6]

Alicorn crisis

Strider Squadron approaching Artiglio

On September 4, Strider Squadron was tasked with escorting an Osean Maritime Defense Force task force led by the amphibious assault ship OFS Puffin attempting to capture the Erusean Navy's Alicorn submarine. While defending the fleet from Erusean squadrons, Mimic Squadron entered the airspace above Artiglio and attempted to assassinate Trigger. Ultimately, Trigger forced Mimic to retreat. As the mission continued, the Alicorn sunk the Puffin and launched Alicorn Squadron aircraft carrying a cruise missile. Strider chased the aircraft and Trigger shot them down while the Alicorn escaped.[7]

On September 10, Brigadier General Howard Clemens tasked Strider with single-handedly destroying the Erusean reserve Rán Fleet stationed at Anchorhead. During the operation, Húxiān was struck by an airburst projectile launched from the Alicorn and had to retreat. Once again, Mimic Squadron attempted to assassinate Trigger; they fired a missile that struck Lanza, forcing him to retreat as well. With Count's help, Trigger managed to kill both Mimic pilots.[8]

After returning to base, Strider was debriefed by General Clemens, who was now under suspicion of hiring Mimic Squadron due to his dialogue during the operation. Húxiān attempted to confront Clemens but was restrained by other LRSSG members. During the debriefing, Vice Chairman Edwards of the Osean Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered Clemens to be arrested under charges of treason before Húxiān struck him.[8]

On September 14, Strider and Cyclops were deployed to PX80443 alongside an Osean strike team to sink the Alicorn and prevent its captain, Matias Torres, from firing a nuclear shell at Oured. After Strider escorted Specter Squadron while they deployed sonobuoys, Trigger located the Alicorn using a magnetic anomaly detector. Osean vessels forced the Alicorn to surface by striking it with VL-ASROCs and Strider began attacking the submarine. On the verge of sinking it, Captain Torres faked a surrender, forcing Strider to halt their attack while he prepared to fire a nuclear shell. Distrustful of the surrender, OIA analyst David North warned Trigger, who promptly disobeyed his orders and attacked the vessel's railgun as it fired. With Torres' intentions clear, Strider resumed attacking and Trigger managed to sink the Alicorn before the second shell could be fired.[9]

Advance into Erusea

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Two days after dealing with the Alicorn, Operation Werewolf was conducted, which consisted of the capturing of the Cape Rainy airport to be used as a frontline base from which to launch the invasion of Farbanti. Strider swiftly infiltrated Cape Rainy airspace via a narrow canyon, which was heavily surveilled by guard towers and helicopters equipped with searchlights. The operation was a success, giving Osea a frontline foothold from which to attack Farbanti.

The squadron later participated in Operation Giant's Step, and contributed significantly in Osea's success in capturing Farbanti. However, towards the end of the battle, Sol Squadron joined the battle and dealt heavy damage to allied forces. Trigger and the rest of Strider engaged Sol Squadron. Despite their best efforts, Mister X managed to shoot down both Fencer and Wiseman. As the engagement continued and seemed to arrive at a stalemate, anti-satellite attacks by both countries took place and disabled nearly all communications and data transfer capabilities across most of Usea. Unable to coordinate with their superiors, and unable to utilize the IFF and radar technology on which they all relied, Sol Squadron withdrew from the combat airspace, followed shortly by the LRSSG, returning to their own designated emergency landing bases.

Clandestine operations

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Having lost contact with their superiors after the battle of Farbanti, the Long Range Strategic Strike Group participated in Operation Gorgon to extract general Édouard Labarthe after his defection from Erusea. In the occasion, they learn how the Eruseans relied on North Osea Gründer Industries' UAV technology to rebuild their military after the Continental War and how they conspired to assassinate Vincent Harling, proving Trigger's innocence. The mission ended in failure, with Labarthe being killed in a friendly fire incident with Osean forces, while Strider and Cyclops Squadrons were busy defending a civilian transport plane from both Erusean fighters and the civilian aircraft's own UAV escorts who mistook them for enemies.

With few supplies, they launch an attack to capture Tyler Island in Operation Reflux amid the battle between Osean forces and antagonizing Erusean factions. In the occasion, not only did they rescue the Oseans, including some members of the former Spare Squadron, but prevented some supply ships from being sent to the Arsenal Bird. However, still in need of supplies, they launched Operation Beehive to raid Shilage Castle, where they had a final clash with Sol Squadron, culminating with Trigger shooting down both Hermann and Roald, and subsequently dueling and defeating Mister X in combat.

Ending the war

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Once regrouping with allied Osean and Erusean forces, including the remnants of Sol Squadron, Strider and Cyclops participated in a large scale air battle to subdue the last bastion of Erusean resistance at the site of the International Space Elevator and to destroy the Arsenal Bird Justice, in order to finally bring the war to an end. With help from Rosa Cossette D'Elise and Avril Mead in disabling Justice's APS, Trigger shot down the Arsenal Bird, sending it crashing into Gunther Bay.

However, their victory was cut short when they were ambushed by two new advanced UAVs. Forced to retreat to the OFS Admiral Andersen, the coalition regrouped the following morning. A ragtag group of Osean and Erusean survivors, including Sol Squadron and Strider Squadron attempted to shoot down both UAVs during Operation Hush. A fierce dogfight broke out, during which both UAVs sustained severe damage. However, one UAV escaped and attempted to flee into the space elevator's tunnel network. Trigger entered the tunnels to chase it down. He caught up with it at the base of the elevator, successfully destroying the drone and escaping via the elevator's windbreak. While casualties were severe, all members of Strider Squadron survived the mission, which ended in the destruction of both UAVs.


The Strider aircraft at the front of the elephant walk

On June 30, 2020, the original Strider Squadron aircraft of Trigger and his wingmen were showcased on a runway at Redmill Air Force Base alongside the aircraft of Sol, Mobius, Yellow, Garuda, Avalanche, Strigon and Galm squadrons at a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Belkan War hosted by the Osean Federation.[10]