The OFS Kestrel (ケストレル Kesutoreru), 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.
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.
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.
Four years after the war's conclusion, the Kestrel was formally delivered to the Osean navy in February 1999, and officially commissioned later on September 16.[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 2010, Nicholas A. Andersen succeeded Weeker as the Kestrel's commanding officer.
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.
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.
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.
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 and brought aboard the Kestrel. 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.
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. 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. 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.
The following day, the Kestrel and her fleet were positioned several hundred nautical miles west of Hollister, Osea. Sometime in the afternoon, the Kestrel was hit on her starboard side by two Yuktobanian SLBMs 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; the exact number of Osean casualties that resulted from her sinking remains unknown.
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; Erusean forces sunk the carrier during the second battle.
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. 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".
- The carrier's name comes from kestrel, a name used for several members of the falcon genus of birds, Falco. Kestrels have a distinctive hunting strategy of hovering over the ground and swooping down to catch their prey.
- An aircraft carrier in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon uses the Kestrel's CVN-30 hull designation, which is not used by any carrier in the USN. The same carrier also appears in the arcade game Mach Storm, which was built on the Assault Horizon engine.
- The Hubert class that the Kestrel belongs to is a fictional name for the real-life Nimitz class. Hubert shares its name with Brian E. Hubert, a gunner's mate on the USS Nimitz who died in 1999 after falling down a ventilation shaft.
- The Kestrel and the Admiral Andersen are the only aircraft carriers depicted in Ace Combat to launch ground-based aircraft.
- New Space Order -link of life- features a Kestrel-class aircraft carrier named "アルタイル" (Altair). link of life was adapted from the canceled video game New Space Order, which took place in the United Galaxy Space Force continuity, the timeline of which begins with Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Operation Costner, Juggernaut, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 PS2/エースコンバット５ | BACKGROUND | 設定資料. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
- ↑ Aces At War: A History 2019, page 142.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Narrow Margin, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Rendezvous, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Cutscene 20, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 19, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Ancient Walls, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 21, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 24, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Sea of Chaos, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Briefing, ACES, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 25, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 02: "This Means War", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 03: "Two-pronged Strategy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Cutscene 15: "Admiral Andersen", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ Mission 20: "Dark Blue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- ↑ O'Brien, Dennis. "Nimitz Sailor Killed In Fall Down Shaft". Daily Press. Published on 16 January 1999. Retrieved on 14 May 2018.