Just like ground units, each faction in Act of Aggression has its distinctive features when it comes to aircrafts.
Whatever the faction, you will manage your aircrafts from the Air Control Center. This building will be made available once you have upgraded your HQ to an advanced tiers, respectively DEFCON 2 (US Army), SHIELD Protocol (Chimera) and Black Ops (Cartel).
Us air control center
Chimera air control center
Cartel air control center
In each Air Control Center, you will be able to produce three different aircrafts, depending on the use you want to make of them.
First, foe each faction, an air superiority fighter is available. They are dedicated to air-to-air combat, to escort your other planes or to intercept enemy ones.
Although they cover the same role and are quite similar in their original variant, several upgrades available to each of them will soon clearly distinguish one from another …
US F-35 B Lightning
Chimera PAK FA
The remaining planes are more diversified depending on the faction you are playing.
For instance, Chimera has cheap but weak stealth drones (Corax & nEUROn). Middle game, you can surprise your enemy by sending him a great deal of these expendable units.
While the US Army can rely on the B-2 Spirit light bomber, expensive but very efficient. An ideal choice of weapon, short of a tactical one, when you want to make a difference in late game by razing the enemy’s base to the ground.
US B-2 Spirit
In the control panel which appears when you build an Air Control Center, you will find a display of the icons of the faction’s aircrafts and upgrades. Among the latter, you will find radars and bombing capacity’s enhancement, improved detection range, missiles deflection systems, …
You may manage up to three aircrafts per Air Control Center. Icons are displayed on each building, showing you how many air units are at your disposal.
To give an attack order, just click on the plane(s) in the control panel. If there are several planes of the same model available, click as many times as you want one to join the squadron.
A ghost of the plane(s) appears on the ground to show you where it will strike. To confirm their destination, another click and the air strike is launched.
Once the air strike is completed, aircrafts need to fly back to their off-map base to refuel and rearm. Their icon will then blink.
The duration of their unavailability depends on several factors such as the number of missiles they have launched during the strike, the time they have spent in the air (hence the quantity of fuel to refill) or the damages it has received (and needing repair), …
Fighters will not be the sole way to counter air strikes: some ground units will be able to engage them too, such as anti-aircraft turrets or specialized infantry. But against advanced planes, the best defense remains the air superiority fighter.
US F-22 Raptor
To sum up the list of aircrafts available to each faction:
F-35B Lightning (Ground attack – efficient against vehicles)
F-22 Raptor (Air superiority fighter – efficient against aircrafts)
B-2 Spirit (Light bomber – efficient against buildings)
Corax (Unarmed recon drone – optical camouflage – able to detect stealth units)
PAK FA (Air superiority fighter – very efficient against aircrafts)
nEUROn (Ground attack drone – very efficient against vehicles & buildings)
Berkut (Air superiority fighter- efficient against aircrafts)
X-32 (Light bomber – efficient against vehicles and can detect ground stealth units)
Valkyrie (Supersonic bomber with napalm bombs – very efficient against infantry and buildings)