General Ivan Stagleishov (Russian: Иван Стаглеишов) was a Russian Air Force pilot and commander of all Russian forces during the 2015 East Africa insurgence. He serves as the secondary antagonist of the game.
Stagleishov was the leader of the Russian forces working in tandem with NATO in East Africa. He is first met in the introductory cutscene of mission #2, "Inferno" where he is caught by William Bishop and José Gutierrez of the Warwolf Squadron in a heated discussion with Task Force 108 commander Pierre La Pointe on NATO's fighter escort policy. Stagleishov then told the general that they are Russians, not NATO, before ordering Illich to take his squadron in the air.
- "A shame you are still alive. A grave mistake on my part."
- ― General Stagleishov, "Blue on Blue"
Following Illich's rescue, the Task Force's next mission was raiding Mogadiyu, with Spooky 01 providing support to a Delta Team. Stagleishov attempted to be involved in the mission using Russian MiGs but decided to back down upon realizing that it will spark an international incident. Shortly after the events at Mogadiyu, the Warwolf Squadron returns to the Allied base. As the four pilots prepare to land, Guts notices a large group of fighters taxiing in the runway. Bishop asks the control tower about the situation, only to be nearly rammed by the aircraft, callsign "Big Bear". On the radio, Stagleishov tells Warwolf that his squadron was forced to scramble quickly to respond to an emergency situation and that he was "sorry for the mix-up". Several seconds later, AWACS Kingmaster alerts the team of a siege in the northern city of Carruth, prompting them to head there.
On their way to Carruth, the team is ambushed by several rebel Fishbeds, as the Big Bear Squadron was reportedly engaging the enemy in the east. The Big Bear team returned soon thereafter, opening fire on the NATO aircraft, leading Warwolf 2 to issue a "blue on blue" (friendly fire) warning. With no response from Ivan, who was nowhere to be seen, William ordered all aircraft to treat the Russians as hostiles. In the middle of the engagement, Ivan ended his radio silence, and spoke with Colonel Bishop, telling him that his betrayal was his own doing, without any external intervention. Shortly thereafter, Andrei Markov, the Russian ace that Bishop had seen in his dreams days ago, joined the fray. Bishop managed to get Akula off Gutierrez's back, only to be chased by the Russian himself. Ready to kill a crippled Bishop, Andrei was called off by Stagleishov on the grounds of low fuel, with a disappointed Markov telling Bishop that "[he] was not good enough" in Russian as he left with the general. He then conducted an experiment on the new Trinity weapon, destroying Carruth in the process. Unbeknownst to Bishop, it was even revealed that prior to the mission, Stagleishov killed several of La Pointe's men.
New Russian Federation coup d'etat and death
General Stagleishov remained out of the picture for days, during which he led rebel Russian forces in their coup to inaugurate a "New Russian Federation", conducting several Trinity attacks on Russian military bases. On January 15, 2016, the loyalist Russian forces and the Task Force 108 launched an assault to retake the capital of Moscow from the NRF forces, which concluded in the detonation of one of the three last Trinity warheads, and the subsequent liberation of the city.
When the city's defenses fell, Stagleishov relayed a message to the loyalist Aleksej unit, requesting them to relay transmission to the 17th Airborne Division. In his message, he requested to be granted political immunity in exchange for the last remaining Trinity warhead. Afterward, he would participate in a video conference with a Blatnoi member, explaining to him how "[they] must agree to [the loyalists'] terms". He seemed to have realized at this point that the war cost Russia too many lives and weapons already and that the coup had become unpopular among the citizens. However, the transmission would be interrupted by Andrei Markov and two NRF soldiers, who barged into the room and shot the General. An injured Ivan explained Markov how the coup had failed, the latter replying that the entire plot was about revenge and he was just presumably used as a pawn for the coup. In the end, Andrei executed the dying Stagleishov.
- Ivan's death scene is the first time in the series where a firearm is used effectively and actually kills a character. In other games, scenes involving use of firearms on someone actually ends up with the shooter missing or simply end up as a hold-up (As in Ace Combat 04 and 5), or the gun jamming on the shooter as he attempts to fire (As in Ace Combat 6)
- Also, this is the first time in the series a character is explicitly shown being killed on-screen, even with a visible blood pool if one looks closely. In other games, the deaths were just implied (Like Ace Combat 04 and 6).