Machine of the Mantle

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This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Flash Hazard.

"The cordium we're popping inside of them cost more than what they're paying us."

"Machine of the Mantle" is the sixth mission of Project Wingman. The player raids the Pacific Federation-held cordium extraction site of Apodock Fracture.

This mission also marks the first appearance of Crimson Team, the main antagonists of the campaign.


The map has three target areas. The first area contains no PRIORITY targets but a moderate number of targets of opportunity (in particular cordium containers and refineries), along with some anti-air defenses. There will also be a few chimneys marked as Civilian, which may be ignored or destroyed as the player sees fit. The second area contains PRIORITY refineries along with an abundance of containers, although the player should be wary of AA and SAM sites amidst the mass of targets, as well as the thick tangle of pipework that can block firing angles and present a collision hazard when making low-altitude attack runs. The player can expect to be engaged by enemy fighters when approaching and flying in the second area.

The third area is a magma crater containing two Anura-class air cruisers and three cordium extraction complexes, along with some more defenses. Flying too close to the magma will steadily damage the player aircraft, and should be avoided if possible. The PRIORITY extractors can be destroyed in one of several ways:

  • Area-of-effect weapons (e.g. an Unguided Bomb, Large)
  • Approaching the end of the tunnel and launching a missile at the extractor inside (the safest approach)
  • Sniping with guns or missiles through the vents in the roof (may be difficult due to hitboxes, esp. with the Sk.25U's cannon rounds)
  • Flying through the tunnel (besides the risk of collision, this will damage the player aircraft due to magma proximity)

Once all targets are destroyed, Crimson Team arrives with four VX-23s and Sk.37 Decimator-Bs. The player is recommended to flee north over the marked line on the map to complete the mission. However, damaging any of the Crimsons sufficiently will count as a kill and also complete the mission, with the enemy squadron withdrawing and alternate dialogue playing.

Mercenary difficulty

The anti-air defenses are upgraded and reinforced with units including C-RAMs and railguns present. The enlarged fighter response forces include Sk.37s and named aces in various aircraft. A 205-class air battleship joins the Anuras.

Enemy List

Section Unit Points Count Mercenary
Initial EnemyG.png OIL TANK 50 12
EnemyG-N.png CHIMNEY 75 9
EnemyG.png C-RAM 150 1
EnemyA-N.png EP-215 150 2
EnemyG.png RADAR 150 2
EnemyG.png C-RAM 150 11
EnemyG.png AA 150 13
EnemyG.png SAM 150 23
EnemyG.png COMM. TOWER 200 2
EnemyG.png REFINERY 200 5
EnemyG-P.png REFINERY 200 8
EnemyG.png CONTAINER 200 82
EnemyA.png F/E-4 "THUNDERCEPTOR" 250 1
EnemyA.png F/S-15 "INQUIS" 250 1
EnemyA.png MG-29 "HAZAWA" 250 1[note 1]
EnemyA.png SK.37 250 3
EnemyA.png F/C-16 250 6
EnemyA.png F/E-4 250 6
EnemyA.png SK.27 250 6
EnemyG.png ADVSAM 300 1
EnemyG.png RAILGUN 600 2
EnemyG-P.png EXTRACTOR 1000 3
Mission Update EnemyA-P.png SK.37 "CRIMSON" 250 4[note 2]
EnemyA-P.png VX-23 "CRIMSON" 250 4[note 2]


  • AWACS Galaxy's quote "Alright, ramblers, let's get rambling." at the start of the mission is a reference to the crime film Reservoir Dogs.
  • The Federation facility chief's incursion report at the beginning of the level is almost word-for-word for the Sand Island Command Room's in the introductory cutscene of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  • The mission bears many parallels with Lifeline, the fifth mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. In both missions, the player and allies destroy energy assets belonging to the enemy faction, but is then ordered to retreat after an enemy ace squadron named after a color arrives. However, unlike Lifeline, it is possible to force the enemy squadron to retreat.
    • Further adding to this allusion is the name of the location's region: Yellowstone.
  • Thunderceptor[1] and Hazawa are named after two Kickstarter backers.[2]
  • This is one of the five missions in the campaign with a prominent background air raid siren, the others being Missions 5, 13, 15, and 20.



  1. HAZAWA originally spawned below Mercenary difficulty, but this was changed in Patch 1.0.4c.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Crimson cannot be physically shot down, but any depleted health bars will register as kills.