- "...You've gotta kidding me, they've got a battleship."
- ― AWACS Thunderhead
Desert Lightning is the 16th campaign mission of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. It plays after White Noise if the player said "No" or nothing to Chopper's question about a song at the end of that mission. Alternatively, saying "Yes" will play Desert Arrow instead.
Orson Perrault: This is it, people. Our ground forces will engage in a decisive battle with the enemy's main force in the Jilachi Desert. It'll be an enormous battle. If our Army wins this showdown of military might, we'll be just a hair away from total victory. You'll be responsible for neutralizing the enemy forces that are blocking our Army's advance on the left flank on the front lines. Osea's relying on you, people. Don't let us down.
Briefing Officer: This mission will be referred to as "Operation Desert Blitz." Yuktobania has an airfield in the western region of the Jilachi Desert, and an oil facility protected by defense positions in the southern part of the desert. These two locations are the target of this operation. The 2nd Tank Battalion will handle the airstrip, while the 3rd Tank Battalion will capture the oil facility. Your mission is to cover both of the ground forces as they advance. This operation will unfold across the southern region of the Jilachi Desert, but we expect fierce enemy resistance within the entire area. It's been reported that several enemy tank platoons have taken up positions around the airstrip, one of your mission targets. You'll be up against a large number of enemy forces, so choose your opponents carefully. Don't try to take on all of them. Destroying a certain number of enemy forces within your alloted [sic] time on station would be considered successful completion of the mission. Operation Desert Blitz commences today at 1050 hours.
The mission's initial objective is to defend the 2nd and 3rd Tank Battalions from all enemy forces. In addition, the player must earn at least 10,000 points within the time limit.
After the time limit is over and the player has earned 10,000+ points, the mission's next objective is to destroy all ships, all anti-air weaponry, and all enemy artillery. Destroying all TGTs ends the mission.
Briefing Officer: Operation Desert Blitz was a success. Yuktobania's airfield and oil facility were completely destroyed, thanks to the teamwork between the air and ground forces.The Osean army is advancing quickly on all fronts, and enemy forces in the southern part of the Jilachi Desert are on the verge of being annihliated. The ground forces, fresh from securing the Jilachi area of operations, have set off for Cruik Fortress in their quest to liberate Cinigrad.
Orson Perrault: Our ground forces have scored a major victory. If we can destroy the fortress standing in our path, we'll open a road to the capital of Yuktobania. Then we'll storm the heart of the enemy!
- One of five special hangars housing parts for the ADF-01 FALKEN can be found in this mission. It is located along the northern fork of the river, north of the oil facility, near where the reinforcements spawn during the mission update. It will only appear on radar when approached by the player.
- Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Perfect Guide, pages 102-105.
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