Aurora Aerospace Combat Elements are modular units (as are the Surface Combat Elements and Medical Corps Elements) that can be combined as needed for individual missions and task force assignments. Aurora ACE units consists of Fighter, Strike, Electronic Warfare, C2ISR, Support and Training squadrons.
Chief of Staff of the ACE: Vacant
ACE-1 is an Aerospace Superiority squadron. The Eagles are extremely disciplined in fighting style, dress, speech and manners. Precision is highly valued in this squadron, as is coolness under fire. Pilots who lose control of their emotions will be quickly dismissed from this elite fighter squadron. Comm activity is absolutely minimal; often consisting of a single word of the language used by fighter pilots. Meticulous attention to details is what has given this elite unit its deadly reputation.
ACE-1 Commander: Captain John "Skid" Boyd
ACE-1 Operations Officer: Vacant
The second of Aurora's two dedicated Aerospace Superiority squadrons is, through accident or intent, in many ways the opposite image of ACE-1. Traditional military elements such as dress, rank, fraternization and appropriate language are ignored if not actively disdained by the Wolfpack, especially on deep space assignments far from headquarters. While ACE-2 also maintains very tight combat discipline, the radio chatter is notably more... colorful.
ACE-2 Commander: Position Filled, To Be Announced
ACE-2 Operations Officer: Vacant
ACE-3 RED TAILS
The Red Tails are the linear descendants of an escort squadron formed during the 20th century. The spacecraft flown by the Red Tails are chosen for their firepower and ability to take a beating, making them a perfect choice for the Escort and High-Value Asset Protection missions ACE-3 is usually tasked with. They are constantly required to make a decision as to whether a detected threat is a genuine attack or merely a feint designed to draw away the escorts. Pilots without the discipline to ignore fleeing bandits and return to station-keeping are quickly and memorably asked to leave.
ACE-3 Commander: Vacant
ACE-3 Operations Officer: Vacant
Just the name "Gunslinger" evokes a warm, even tender reaction from combat-hardened members of the Surface Combat Elements. That's because "Slingers inbound!" is a radio call that has saved many of their lives, on many occasions. Often encountering fierce SAM and AAA threats, Gunslingers in the Close Aerospace Support mission provide precise and deadly firepower at targets often designated by the engaged SCE unit. Even higher in the eyes of the grunts are the MedEvac escort craft, whose pilots calmly and repeatedly endure withering small arms fire in order to provide cover fire while MedEvac evacuates and egresses casualties from the ground.
ACE-4 Commander: Vacant
ACE-4 Operations Officer: Vacant
Invisible, silent and undetected, enemy units become aware of the presence of ACE-5 when they begin to explode without warning. Employing the state-of-the-art weapons platforms, the Vampires are masters of deep strike missions. Employing stealth technology, advanced sensors and most of all patience, the pilots of ACE-5 can get in to deliver devastating torpedo attacks on capitol craft -- all while remaining in the deep shadows where they are at home.
ACE-5 Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Dante Perez de la Cruz
ACE-5 Operations Officer: Vacant
ELECTRONIC WARFARE SQUADRONS
ACE-6 BLACK KNIGHTS
The Black Knights are the agents that create blank detection screens on the part of the enemy. This Electronic Warfare squadron provides multiple attack modes -- EMP strikes at installations and Iron Hand defense suppression, for example -- as well as deploying a wide series of defensive assets, including jamming, countermeasures and detection. Lurking invisibly at the edges of the battlespace, or providing lightning-fast EM attacks against capital craft, installations and smaller vehicles, the pilots of ACE-6 are the unsung heroes of aerospace superiority.
ACE-6 Commander: Vacant
ACE-6 Operations Officer: Vacant
COMMAND, CONTROL, INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE AND RECONNAISSANCE (C2ISR) SQUADRONS:
Tight coordination between individual elements is essential not only for survival in the aerospace environment; it is essential for victory as well. The Verse-wide reputation for disciplined aerospace tactics enjoyed by Aurora combat units would be impossible without the chess masters of ACE-7. On the theater level, the Reapers are responsible for fleet reconnaissance and intelligence collection. On the tactical level, ACE-7 is responsible for the aerospace surveillance and the command and control that provides high saturation, time-over-target coordination and targeting. An enormous force multiplier, they coordinate target assignments, deconflict friendly elements and provide all-seeing defensive eyes on each individual spacecraft, vectoring assistance where necessary.
ACE-7 Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Marcel Albrecht
ACE-7 Operations Officer: Vacant
There is an ancient military maxim that reads: "Captains talk tactics. Colonels talk logistics." Nothing happens on the ground, in the air or in space without the supply muscle of Aurora's Support Squadrons.
Mirroring the intense rivalry between ACE-1 and ACE-2, the rivalry between the Grizzlies of ACE-8 and ACE-9's Rhinos is intense and ongoing, despite the fact that unlike the fighter squadrons, the two support squadrons are composed of very different vehicles. ACE-8 is the heavy lift squadron for Aerospace Command Elements, moving huge quantities of supplies quickly and efficiently in large- and capital-class spacecraft. They view the Rhinos as self-absorbed prima donnas barely capable of delivering a Big Benny's machine.
ACE-8 Commander: Vacant
ACE-8 Operations Officer: Vacant
Possessing far smaller assets than the Grizzlies, the Rhinos take great pride in the fact that they, not ACE-8, are the ones deployed to the hot zones. ACE-9 is called when a relatively small logistical burden needs to be delivered with lightning speed and at a moment's notice...often across the "last mile". Rhino spacecraft range from medium and light freighters, all the way down to small ground delivery vehicles. Rhino crews comprise, by far, the most skilled pilots and best gunners outside of fighter and strike squadrons.
ACE-9 Commander: Vacant
ACE-9 Operations Officer: Vacant
ACE-10 COOL KINGS
Squadron legend has it that as this unit was being activated, a newly-graduated and obviously disappointed Lieutenant complained aloud that "flying tankers is not very cool." The reply from one of the experienced tanker pilots was said to be "First, tanker pilots are the kings of cool, and second, proceed to the southwest corner of the hanger, face the wall, and go [redacted] yourself, you [redacted]-kicking [redacted]."
From flying massive squadrons of refuelers to support fleet actions all the way down to freighters dropping fuel at remote outposts, "the Kings" have maintained and indeed cultivated that irreverent, laid back attitude. Their squadron motto, the origin of which is lost to the sands of time, is simply "Abide."
ACE-10 Commander: Vacant
ACE-10 Operations Officer: Vacant
ACE-11 MAD MALLARDS FROM HELL
The Ducks (they are never referred to as anything other than 'the Ducks') is the initial training squadron for Aurora inductees. At one point or another, all ACE pilots started as Ducks. ACE-11 instructor pilots (IPs) provide initial evaluation of basic flying, combat aviation and crew skills; those showing proficiency are then advanced to major weapon system training, and then assigned to the permanent squadrons. ACE-11 provides primary flight instruction to those requiring additional training.
Highly proficient pilots often spend a very short time in the Ducks -- several days in some cases. Skilled pilots are in such demand that a checkride or two is often all that is needed before being assigned to a permanent squadron.
Callsigns are irrelevant prior to ACE-11; applicants are known only as NTCS [Last Name].
NTCS -- No Tactical Call Sign -- is a term of derision and one eagerly abandoned once a Duck is accepted into a permanent squadron. Contrary to popular belief, Tactical Call Signs are not self-administered. They are assigned at a naming ritual shortly after their arrival at their destination squadron; their squadron mates, Commander and OpsO try to determine a callsign that mocks any particular failing the pilot may have publicly committed (or is at least public knowledge), as a modest countermeasure to most pilot's innate sense of superiority.
ACE-11 Commander: Vacant
ACE-11 Operations Officer: Vacant
The Aggressors are the tactics IPs for all Aerospace Combat Elements. That they are the top pilots in the Republic goes without saying, but the real characteristic for which Aggressors are selected is their ability to teach. Advanced tactics training is provided both in academic formats and by inflight instruction during extremely demanding, advanced combat maneuvering sorties. ACE-X provides adversary threat replication, as well as all of the Opposing Force (OpFor) elements in large scale, Red Flag training sessions lasting days or even weeks.
Assignment to ACE-X is usually not permanent. Aggressor IP's routinely return to the combat units as Weapons and Tactics Officers, OpsO's and Commanders. In times of emergency ACE-X pilots are rapidly transitioned back to the combat squadrons; however, it is not unheard of for ACE-X itself to actually engage enemy units in the opening days of armed conflict.
Assignment to ACE-X is by invitation only.
ACE-X Commander: Colonel James "Foghorn" Laghurn
ACE-X Operations Officer: Vacant