Airstrike is an area-clearing weapon, capable of destroying both Infantries and Vehicles, but quite weak against buildings. Airstrike is one of the three equipment purchasable in the Purchase Terminal from the item menu. It comes in form of special binoculars equipped with target painter.
Airstrikes are usually used to soften up enemy vehicles, both rushing or defending ones. They can also be employed to flush snipers and other infantry out of camping spots. Lastly, they can be called onto the base to sweep away any Stealth Black Hands and other infiltrators, although it is usually better to employ patrols rather than spend 800 Credits for a chance to hit any sneaky opponent inside the base.
They are activated by right click, showing the strike mark; mouse wheel allows to zoom in and out, while holding right mouse will allow the player to rotate the strike mark in their desired direction. Upon left clicking, the binoculars will designate the Airstrike target with its' target painter, disclosing location of the player calling in an airstrike. The player will need to stand still while painting the target, which takes roughly 3.5 seconds.
Upon finishing, an announcement will be broadcasted to all players. After a delay, a faction specific aircraft (AC-130 Gunship for Brotherhood of Nod and A-10 Warthog for Global Defense Initiative)will fly into the map, releasing it's payload upon marked area 10 seconds after airstrike was finished being called in. A well-aimed airstrike can heavily impede or destroy altogether an incoming vehicle rush. Note that Airstrikes will not be able to hit under tunnels, caves, and other natural or artificial cover. Calling an Airstrike inside tunnels, caves, or other cover it is possible; the aircraft will bombard the area above instead. Such may prove advantageous since the player will most likely be hidden and unnoticed while calling the Airstrike.
Airstrikes are team-wide limited to one airstrike with a map-specific cooldown, generally about 30-45 seconds. It is not possible to call in an Airstrike near the presence of a active Superweapon Beacon.
A-10 Warthog bombing run
GDI airstrike consists of three A-10 Warthog aircraft. The first A-10 unloads it's guns and then fires missiles diagonally from direction indicated by airstrike hit mark, attacking the center area of the airstrike. After that, second A-10 bombs area to the left of the mark, followed by final bombing of area to the right by third A-10.
This airstrike is much harder to fully utilize as it consists of 3 iteration strafing attacks rather than full area coverage, as well as being executed diagonally, making it easier for enemies to hide behind natural cover, safe from the attack. This advantage can be partially offset by changing the direction of the airstrike, accomplished by moving one's mouse in a circle before releasing the left mouse button in the target painting sequence.
AC-130 Gunship saturation bombing
Nod airstrike consists of a single AC-130 Gunship plane. Upon arrival it fires multiple cannon shots in the vicinity of airstrike hit mark. This is a good counter against clustered GDI vehicles, as it heavily damages unrepaired vehicles and heavily injures or even kills any repairmen exposed to the explosions.