North Kivu is a province bordering Lake Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The United States Armed Forces, wanting to send the message that they do not need Iron Man for keeping world peace, tasked Hammer Industries with developing a single pilot close-quarter combat vehicle nicknamed the Aerodynamic Marvel. General Thaddeus Ross, officer in charge of the project, ordered the vehicle to be carried in a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber and deployed over Congo, in order to perform a field test in an actual war zone monitored by Ross and lead designer Justin Hammer.
However, despite Hammer's claims that the vehicle was not vulnerable to surface-to-air attacks, the Congolese Army was able to shoot the plane down, crashing in the North Kivu region and leaving the pilot alone in hostile territory.
The Armed Forces requested that Tony Stark rescue the pilot, hoping Iron Man would fulfill the original mission of the Aerodynamic Marvel. If Stark killed the Congolese Army members in the area, the Armed Forces would have built-in deniability, as they were on record not wanting Iron Man's assistance, and any deaths could easily be written off as self-defense.
The Congolese Army approached the vehicle, salvaging any piece of equipment they could and capturing the pilot. Ross tried to activate the self-destruct mechanism to avoid any further complications, but was unable to do it due to the damage the virtual umbilical systems had sustained.
Iron Man arrived just in time to save the pilot from being executed by Congolese soldiers, who were waving the flag of the Ten Rings. However, he refused to kill the soldiers, disarming and knocking them down by striking the soil beneath them.
Stark flew away with the pilot, receiving a call from Ross, who ordered him to evacuate the soldier to Egypt, an order Stark completed despite being tired of the manipulation he endured for the sake of the pilot's life.