Missiles (abbreviated as MSSL or MSL) are the most common weapons in the Ace Combat series, being featured in all games. Missiles have average damaging power, usually taking out fighters in 1-2 impacts and larger aircraft in 3, and possess high ammunition payloads, which range from between 50 and 300 and sometimes 800 in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. They have the uncommon trait of being able to lock on to both air and ground targets, making them effective multirole weapons.They also have a quick reload sequence, allowing several missiles to be launched in quick succession. In Ace Combat 6, missile reloading speed can be increased by chaining several kills in a short time. However, they have average accuracy at medium range, and are often useless against ace pilots.
Missile range varies with each game; for example, in the PlayStation 2 installments, missiles lock on within 5,200 feet (~1,600 meters), whereas those in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation lock on at 8,200 feet (2,500 meters). Their performance can be affected negatively or positively depending on several factors, such as firing angle and shooter-target distance. In Ace Combat 6, missile performance can be enhanced by Electronic Support Measures (ESM) as well as the Read-Ahead Fire mechanic.
All standard missiles in each game vary in model according to their aircraft (for example, the F-16C Fighting Falcon uses the AIM-9 Sidewinder, while Su-27 Flanker-B uses Vympel R-60 (AA-8 Aphid)), however they all function in the same way.
Ace Combat: Joint Assault introduced several new missile types alongside the normal, "vanilla" type. These new missiles often excel at certain fields, such as damage and speed, at the expense of drawbacks relative to their design.
Standard Missile (STDM)
A non-modified missile with a balance between damage and speed.
Lightweight Missile (LGWM)
A missile modified for speed and increased payload, at the expense of damage.
Heavyweight Missile (HVWM)
Missile with a bulkier mainframe and a larger warhead, trading a reduced payload and lower speed in for increased power.
High Accuracy Missile (HACM)
Missile with an upgraded CPU, increasing combat accuracy and reducing effective range.