Tech 1 Air Units
|Light Air Transport|
Mobile Intelligence Units
|Tech 1 Land Scout|
|Tech 1 Air Scout|
|Tech 3 Spy Plane|
Tech 1 Air Scouts are low cost units with a long sight range, perfect for aerial reconnaissance. They cost only 75% as much energy as a tech 1 interceptor, but move 25% faster and see twice the area due to their higher vision radius. However, they have extremely low HP, and are completely unarmed, dying easily to even the most basic T1 AA guns.
Air scouts provide vision, which is a highly accurate form of intel. It is very useful to have vision over enemy bases and mass deposits to understand their Tech level and what structures they have created, a technique generally referred to as "scouting" the enemy. Air scouts move faster than T1 land scouts and are unaffected by terrain, making them more versatile, however they do cost significantly more energy to produce.
There are 2 styles to scouting with these: flood and group. Flood scouting consists of setting the rally point over the enemy base and setting an Air Factory to build a constant supply and is generally the easiest option. Group scouting involves producing multiple scouts and then sending them over the enemy base(s) all at once.
While both of these methods worked well in the original Supreme Commander, their higher cost and low survivability reduces the effectiveness of both techniques in Forged Alliance. Air scouts have a non negligible mass cost, making it useful to put any air factories producing a scout flood next to a mass extractor for adjacency bonuses.
As a support unit
Tech 1 Interceptors can see further than they can shoot, but require an approach phase to their target for maximum efficiency. Mixing air scouts with interceptors at a 1:5 or 1:10 ratio can greatly increase their effectiveness. Also, grouping 20 or more scouts with a Transport provides effective protection against AA unless the opponent is able to effectively micro-manage their AA defenses. The increased price of air scouts in Forged Alliance made this technique less useful than in the original game.
“The standard air scout for UEF forces, the Hummingbird sacrifices weapons and armor for an advanced optical suite that gives it an excellent field of vision.”—Vanilla SupCom description
“The Cybran air scout is an older design and is pretty typical in its functionality. It has a great visual radius, high speed, no weapons and light armor.”—Vanilla SupCom description
“In Keeping with the Aeon philosophy of simple, single purpose units, the Mirage is little more than a highly guidable missile with an advanced optical sensor suite.”—Vanilla SupCom description
The four tech 1 air scouts are the UEF Hummingbird, the Cybran Flying Eyes, the Aeon Mirage and the Seraphim Sele-istle. Apart from the usual minor health differences cross-faction, the Seraphim Sele-istle has a unique ability called deathcam. This provides Sele-istle vision radius of 30 for 20 seconds after death.
An interesting development is that depending on the positioning of the AA, it could shoot in the empty space between the wings of the Sele-istle, making it a little harder to hit than the hummingbird, and, basically the best scout.