Air wings can be assigned to various missions. If no missions are assigned, air wings will remain idle in their air bases. Different missions are available for different plane types.
The mission efficiency of a wing influences what percentage of its planes can actually carry out the assigned missions.
- If the wing's range does not cover the entire strategic region, it will get a range penalty proportional to the provinces that are not covered.
- Airbase overcrowding can cause a large penalty, as described above.
- Bad weather conditions reduce mission efficiency.
- Wings newly assigned to a strategic region get a temporary, decaying penalty to mission efficiency.
Missions will be conducted regardless of weather, but bad weather reduces detection and efficiency and increases the risk of an accident at take-off and landing. The effects increase with weather severity, with sandstorms and blizzards being particularly bad. It may be advisable to put air wings on standby during such conditions.
Air superiority/escort mission
Wings with this mission will fight and disrupt any enemy air wings operating in the area. The air superiority mission doubles as escort mission, protecting bombers operating in the region by reducing disruption from enemy fighters. Air superiority mission efficiency bonuses increase the attack, defense and agility of the wing.
Close air support mission
Close air support, also known as ground support, is the use of aircraft to assist troops in land combat. Wings with this mission will participate in land combat throughout the strategic region. This gives an attack bonus to friendly troops and directly damages organization and strength of enemy divisions. Divisional anti-air (AA) weapons reduce damage to the division caused by close air support attacks in proportion to the AA's ability to shoot down planes. Air support mission efficiency bonuses increase the attack, defense and agility of the wing.
The air wing can support any land combat in provinces within its range where enemies are participating. Combats close to its air base are prioritized as well as (to a lesser extent) battles with more divisions.
The number of planes able to join a land battle is 3 times the used enemy frontage.
Every plane that joins a battle produces 0.0005 country air experience.
The attacking planes produce attacks against a randomly selected enemy division, ignoring hardness and armor. An ace can increase the amount of attacks. The attacks are resolved as between land units, consuming defense points and succeeding more frequently when defenses are depleted. A general can reduce the damage received with the "Damage Reduction Against CAS" modifier (Camouflage expert provides 50%). The resulting damage values against organization and strength are scaled by 0.04 instead of 0.05 as in combat between divisions.
The allowed CAS frontage is adjusted by the type of terrain in the province where the land battle takes place.
The following factors apply:
- Forest: -10%
- Jungle: -25%
- Urban: -50%
- Hills: -5%
- Desert: -0%
- Plains: -0%
- Mountains: -10%
- Marsh: -0%
Example: One forest land battle takes place in the air region. The enemy frontage, from the landbased divisions, is 20 which allows 3x20*(1-0.1) = 54 planes on the CAS mission to join the battle. CAS wings will join the battle to fill up to 54 planes.
Wings with this mission will only participate in combat if enemy bombers or transport planes are detected. Interception mission efficiency bonuses increase the attack, defense and agility of the wing.
Strategic bombing mission
Strategic bombing is the act of damaging enemy buildings, industry, and infrastructure via planes designed to drop bombs. Wings with this mission can prioritize the type of target (such as airbases, radar installations, forts, infrastructure, etc.) within the strategic region by clicking on the proper button. Note that your bombers may get targeted by state-level "static" anti-air (AA). Strategic bombing damage is about 120 damage per attack cycle for ~0.3 buildings destroyed. This damage appears to be distributed among all the targeted buildings (forts, industry, etc.) in the air region without regard to the number of air wings present. World War II bombers were inaccurate, and therefore the amount of bomb damage varies greatly from day to day.
Players carrying out strategic bombing should note:
- Strategic bombers are very expensive to construct and in many cases a significant number are required to have any meaningful impact. Carefully consider the opportunity cost of committing many factories to a strategic bombing campaign.
- If the enemy air region is heavily defended with fighters, the bombers may need to be escorted. Only heavy fighters have enough range to escort strategic bombers deep into enemy territory, but they can be beaten by light fighters.
Players subject to strategic bombing can respond in several ways:
- State-level "static" AA emplacements (built in the Construction interface or States view) will not only destroy the enemy's bombers, but they will also receive some of the bombs (diverting them from the factories, refineries, resources, and naval facilities that the defender needs to protect).
- Strategic bombers can be fought in the air by fighters. Heavy fighters are more effective than light fighters in this role. Bombers are much slower and less agile than fighters, so players designing defensive fighters will find guns are most effective. Heavy fighters' larger range also means that they can be used to defend a larger area.
- The Construction Repair Continuous focus will speed up the repair of damaged buildings. This will help the region to recover.
Players can assess the impact of their bombing and their defenses in the region's air combat screen (number of buildings bombed, percentage of bombers disrupted). The details pane of that window provides numbers across a long time frame.
Wings with this mission target enemy ships, both inside and outside of naval battles. They may get targeted by naval anti-air. Air wings have a base 4% chance to detect or find an enemy fleet. This detection percentage is modified by other variables. To make detections more frequent at the expense of potentially reducing bombing effectiveness, make more smaller air wings.
Once an enemy fleet is discovered, a randomly assigned ratio of planes to fleet frontage is determined. Fleet frontage is calculated from the total hit points (HP or health) of the enemy fleet divided by 20. Typically, the ratio of attacking planes to fleet frontage is 1:1. Each plane assigned to the attack rolls to hit a target. If the plane hits, it does damage equal to the plane's naval attack (naval damage) value. In a fleet with multiple ships, the target is randomly selected (note: increased ship's surface visibility may increase its chance to be selected as a target...more visible targets are more often struck. This needs to be verified). For example, if a NAV1 hits a heavy cruiser 1, the NAV1 will do 1.5 points of damage. That is, the battleship will lose 1.5 hit points out of its total of 150 hit points.
Naval strikes using only airpower never attack enemy convoys carrying resources or supplies. They can attack enemy convoys carrying troops. However, convoys auto-repair between each attack, and most aircraft are too weak to sink a convoy in one attack. Only NAV2 and NAV3 have a sufficiently high naval attack value to sink troops convoys. The auto-repair mechanism also means that bigger wings are better.
The situation is quite different if naval strikes are combined with an attack by warships (including submarines). In this case, the resource and supply convoys can also be the target of an attack, and many different types of aircraft can be useful (i.e., not only NAV2 and NAV3).
Kamikaze strike mission
This mission is equivalent to the naval strike mission, but with increased effectiveness and losses.
Port strike mission
A port strike mission is an air attack against enemy ships located in a naval base. Naval bases are located within provinces on land, therefore, port strikes can only take place in a region which covers land. The naval base itself will get damaged as well during successful attacks, but empty bases cannot get attacked.
At least 30% air superiority is required to perform port strikes . The number of airplanes involved in a port strike is increased by the port strike value (e.g. 50% more aircraft are involved in a port strike if you have the first "Base Strike" naval doctrine). Note that air wings on a port strike mission may get targeted by state-level "static" anti-air .
Air supply mission
|Available only with the Waking the Tiger DLC enabled.|
Wings with this mission provide supply to assigned ground troops if land-based supply is insufficient. Command points are automatically used for these missions and transport planes can be shot down. The amount supplied isn't much, even with 100 transport planes, so this method shouldn't be relied upon.
Wings with multiple assigned missions will generally only perform the first applicable mission and only mission efficiency bonuses (e.g. from air doctrines) for that mission get applied. To perform multiple missions simultaneously, create multiple smaller wings and assign them individually.