- This article is about an in-game mission. For the in-universe event, see Operation Woodpecker.
- For the location featured in this mission, see Istas Fortress.
Tango Line is the tenth campaign mission in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. Tango Line is one of the game's longer, extended missions in which use of the Return Line is typically required to complete the objective.
The Tango Line is a vital line of defense for the Erusian forces on the eastern mainland. Istas Fortress is a strategic foothold on that line. It utilizes unique terrain features that make it virtually impregnable. Support our troops by attacking and neutralizing the combat power of Istas Fortress. Be forewarned, this will put you within range of Stonehenge. However, your skills should prove to be more than a match for it.
The player is given 20 minutes to earn 3,000 points or more. Targets can be found in and around the four main areas of Istas Fortress. They are (in counter-clockwise order starting from the south) Scion Air Base, the VTOL base, a submarine base, and a resupply base. Each area is defended by a network of SAMs and AA guns and features sparse high-value targets defended by many air targets. The resupply base is also defended by flak guns.
The player must also avoid three waves of Stonehenge fire, which occur around the 5-minute mark (timer shows 15:00:00), 12-minute mark (timer shows 08:15:00), and 19-minute mark (timer shows 01:15:00). All times are approximate and will change with each replay due to allied and enemy radio chatter delaying the countdown. AWACS SkyEye will provide ample warning about 30 seconds prior to the arrival of Stonehenge's fire. Each Stonehenge wave lasts exactly 10 seconds, and the player will be safe so long as an altitude below 2,000 feet is assumed during the waves. Assuming the player has earned the requisite 3,000 or more points before the timer runs out, the mission will be completed.
Achieving an S rank on Tango Line requires earning 5,400 points within the time limit. The recommended aircraft for this mission are the F-15C Eagle and the F/A-18C Hornet equipped with the UGBM SP weapon. This mission features many bombing opportunities, especially in the VTOL bases and the submarine base, which feature clusters of closely grouped targets.
Ground targets alone, however, are not enough to achieve the S rank on this mission. Air targets are just as important, particularly the large number of AV-8B Harrier IIs located in and around the VTOL base. They are worth 60 points each, are extremely vulnerable even after takeoff, and fly in a static path. Shooting them down will help accumulate enough points to earn the S rank.
Main article: Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies/Aces
- Rafale M Faye — Located northwest of the resupply base, west of the submarine base (only under SP New Game → Normal or harder)
Istas Fortress was destroyed. The troops broke through the Tango Line and are now in control of Los Canas. A new field HQ was established in order to spearhead a deeper invasion into the mainland, as well as to attack Stonehenge.
- Approximately 20 seconds after the submarine base is destroyed, another submarine will surface in the middle of the base; SkyEye will confirm this via radio.
- Stonehenge can be inferred to be firing even before SkyEye gives the warning. The subtitles for radio messages in AC04 typically remain on screen for a couple of seconds after the character has stopped talking. However, the subtitles for the radio messages immediately before SkyEye's Stonehenge warning will disappear as soon as the audio is done playing, followed by SkyEye's warning after a short pause.
- Some AV-8Bs are static ground targets and will never takeoff. However, if they are destroyed, radio messages will play as though they are being flown.
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