The 281st Night Fighter Squadron, known as "Phantom Squadron", was a fighter squadron in the Republic of Emmeria Air Force that appeared in Ace Combat Origins: The Spirit Fox. The squadron operated from 1940 to 1947, their primary duty being to escort allied night bombing raids over Belka.
Origins (1938 - 1940)
As the war against Belka progressed, the allies shifted their bombing attacks against Belka's industrial centers to night-bombing due to losses incurred during daylight bombing from Belka's new jet-powered fighter designs. At first this tactic seemed to work, but then Belka developed radar-equipped night-fighters that were capable of intercepting the allied bombers even in pitch darkness. To counter this threat, the Emmerian Air Force's 3rd Air Division organized the 281st Night Fighter Squadron, equipped with the new P-61 Black Widow and gave them the callsign "Phantom".
The 281st NFS first saw combat in early 1941, their first mission being an escort for a flight of Emmerian Lancasters attacking a munitions factory in Hoffnung. During the mission, the bombers were attacked by a flight of Belkan Bf 110's, but before the bombers could be destroyed, the 281st successfully intercepted and destroyed the Belkan fighters. Over the next few months, the 281st earned an infamous reputation among Belka's night fighter squadrons, resulting in the decimation of close to half of Belka's night fighter formations for the loss of only twelve percent of their own members, and only two percent of bombers under their protection being lost to enemy fighters.
Disbanding and Legacy
The 281st Night Fighter Squadron was disbanded in 1947, as advances in jet fighter and radar technologies rendered the squadron obsolete. The squadron leader's aircraft, "Phantom One", was preserved and placed on display at the Emmerian Museum of Aviation in Gracemeria. The phrase "Damn the Phantom" ("Verdammen Sie das Phantom" in Belkan), a common utterance among Belkan pilots facing the 281st NFS, would go on to be heard in later conflicts, particularly among pilots in the Belkan War of the mid-1990's and the Usean Continental War in the mid-2000s.