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For the Emmerian aircraft carrier with the same hull classification, see CVN-30 (AC6).
For the aircraft carrier with the same hull classification in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, see CVN-30 (ACAH).

"All personnel, don't stop working, but listen up good! If we can break through, it'll have a huge impact on this battle. Let's make our flyboys proud."
― Captain Weeker[1]

The OFS Kestrel (ケストレル Kesutoreru),[2] hull designation CVN-30, was an Osean Hubert-class aircraft carrier and the flagship of the 3rd Osean Naval Fleet. She was one of the most battle-hardened vessels of the Osean Maritime Defense Force, having served in both the Belkan War and the Circum-Pacific War.

History

Construction

The Osean Federation Ship Kestrel was built by the Newport Sargo Shipyard after the OMDF issued a contract on July 29, 1991 for the construction of a seventh Hubert-class aircraft carrier. She was completed sometime between 1992 and 1995.[2]

Entry into service (Belkan War)

In early 1995, the finished Kestrel entered into service alongside the vessels of the 3rd Osean Naval Fleet. On April 24, she was dispatched on her first combat voyage to secure a naval transit route for the Allied Forces. Under the leadership of her commanding officer, Captain Weeker, the carrier successfully passed through the Futuro Canal, despite fierce resistance from Belkan fighters. The extraordinary circumstances of the Kestrel's maiden voyage were unofficially considered "sea trials" by the Osean naval command.[1]

Four years after the war's conclusion, the Kestrel was formally delivered to the Osean navy in February 1999,[2] and officially commissioned later on September 16.[3][note 1] The carrier became the designated flagship of the 3rd Naval Fleet—stationed at St. Hewlett—and was assigned VFA-206 as its carrier air wing. Sometime prior to September 2004, Nicholas A. Andersen succeeded Weeker as the Kestrel's commanding officer.[4]

Circum-Pacific War

"The Kestrel takes top priority! That barge over there, move it! I know you want outta here, but open up a path! That carrier's valuable!"
St. Hewlett Port Captain[5]

On September 27, 2010, the Kestrel and her warships were attacked by Yuktobanian aircraft while they were docked at St. Hewlett. The Kestrel hurriedly launched Cpt. Snow and VFA-206 to intercept the hostiles and made way towards the port exit. Through the efforts of VFA-206 and the rookie Wardog Squadron, the Kestrel escaped the port and broke through a Yuktobanian naval blockade without suffering a hit.[5]

The Kestrel sailing through the Eaglin Straits on September 30, 2010

In the days after the raid on St. Hewlett, the Kestrel sailed towards Osea's Eaglin Straits to rendezvous with her sister ships, the OFS Buzzard and Vulture. Together, the three carriers were planned to serve as Osea's counter-strike force against Yuktobania's blitz attack. During the operation, the Kestrel and the 3rd Naval Fleet once again fell under attack by Yuktobanian fighters. After withstanding the aerial assault, she came under fire by a burst missile bombardment from the underwater carrier Scinfaxi. The Kestrel was the only Osean vessel to survive the surprise attack, and her air wing suffered considerable casualties.[6]

She possibly remained in the Bennion Sea for a short time before returning to service on the western front. As the war and Osea's invasion of Yuktobania intensified, the Kestrel presumably launched numerous sorties against targets within Yuktobanian territory. Over time, however, the Kestrel lost a significant number of her airmen, until only Cpt. Snow remained; the carrier eventually found itself without an adequate number of pilots to fly its aircraft and was consequently placed in reserve at Kirwin Island off Osea's northwest coast.[7]

Razgriz operations

"However, since this war began, [the Kestrel] hadn't taken a single hit from enemy forces."
Albert Genette[7]

Sometime in late November or early December, the Kestrel and her fleet halted a Belkan cargo vessel attempting to smuggle fighter aircraft into Yuktobania. Around that same time, the Kestrel's intelligence-gathering vessel, the OFS Andromeda, intercepted an intriguing transmission encoded in Belkan.[7]

In the early morning hours of December 7, word reached the Kestrel that the Wardog pilots had been exposed as spies and had fled north over the Ceres Ocean. After the fugitives eluded the 8492nd Squadron over the Solo Islands, they were recovered[8] and brought aboard the Kestrel.[7] The following day, the Kestrel launched Sea Goblin, the former Wardog pilots, and Cpt. Snow into southern Belka to rescue the Osean President, Vincent Harling.[9]

Following his liberation, Harling returned to the Kestrel and remained aboard her for several weeks. The Kestrel, her fleet, and the newly formed Razgriz Squadron were subsequently placed under the president's direct command.[10] Over the coming weeks, the Kestrel launched the Razgriz on several covert sorties, including thwarting the Belkans' nuclear attacks, shooting down the Arkbird, and rescuing the Yuktobanian Prime Minister, who remained aboard the Kestrel until December 29.

In the early evening that day, the Kestrel and her fleet were intercepted by a Yuktobanian armada in the northern Ceres Ocean. The Kestrel quickly launched the Razgriz to protect her fleet as well as the defecting Yuktobanian warships.[11] As the engagement unfolded, the Kestrel and its new allies were attacked by a passing fleet of Osean warships, which branded them as "traitors" for allying themselves with the Yuktobanians. Through the efforts of the Razgriz, the Kestrel and her new fleet survived the battle.[12]

Sinking

The Kestrel sinking

The following day, the Kestrel and her fleet were positioned several hundred nautical miles west of Hollister, Osea.[13] Sometime in the afternoon, the Kestrel was hit on her starboard side by two Yuktobanian submarine-launched missiles and began listing heavily. Despite this, Captain Andersen ordered the catapult crew to launch the Razgriz as the other crewmen began manning lifeboats. The Razgriz successfully escaped from the sinking Kestrel;[14] the exact number of Osean casualties that resulted from her sinking remains unknown.

Legacy

By 2019, Osea commissioned the construction of a new aircraft carrier and named it the Kestrel II in honor of the Kestrel. The Kestrel II participated in the Lighthouse War, leading two early attacks on Farbanti;[15] Erusean forces sunk the carrier during the second battle.[16]

Andersen himself was honored by another aircraft carrier using his name: the Admiral Andersen. This carrier played a crucial role at the end of the Lighthouse War; it served as the base where Strider Squadron regrouped before fighting the two ADF-11F Ravens at the International Space Elevator.[17][18] Avril Mead noted that the story of the original Kestrel—launching Razgriz Squadron to end the war—gave her hope "at a time like this".[17]

Gallery

Trivia

Footnotes

  1. The Kestrel's commission date was previously stated as March 27 on Bandai Namco's Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War website.[2]

References

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