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An Air staging facility is a structure that refuels and repairs aircraft.
Refueling aircraft is free, so this is something you should try to do often. Repairing aircraft is not free, but it's much better than letting your aircraft be destroyed. The air staging facility can process four Tech 1 units simultaneously, two Tech 2 units simultaneously, or one Tech 3 unit. The air staging facility has an area of effect; any patrolling aircraft in this area will automatically return to the air staging facility when they run low on fuel or sustain substantial damage. This keeps any aircraft patrolling your base in good condition, and ensures that faraway ones don't try to cross kilometers without explicit orders. You can manually tell a group of aircraft to return to the closest air support unit for forced maintenance. This is especially useful before an attack, to repair expensive aircraft, or to refuel light ones.
At 2100 energy, 175 mass and 350 time, the air staging facility costs less than most Tech 2 units, and should be built as early as possible if you plan to make substantial use of aircraft. The cost you will invest in the air staging facility will be dwarfed by the maintenance cost of repairs, but the resources saved from not rebuilding your aircraft will justify your investment.
Repairing an aircraft costs about 3.5% of its cost, so you can repair about 30 aircraft for the cost it takes to build one. An aircraft is repaired and/or refueled in a matter of seconds; the real bottleneck is the waiting line to dock with the platform if a large group of aircraft is waiting for repairs.
After seeing how cheap it is to repair aircraft instead of rebuilding them, we can understand the gunship hit-and-run tactic. Build a small fleet of gunships, and send them only on little hit and run missions, always making sure they return. Repair them after every mission, while building more. As the game progresses, your fleet will increase in size, and minimize losses (a big army destroys its targets quickly). By the end of the game, you should have a fleet big enough to destroy the opponent's entire base. If not, it'll be big enough to destroy the opponent's ACU. The absolute unit of choice for this tactic is the Aeon T3 AA Gunship: Restorer, as it combines high HP for a low cost, and sacrifices a bit of land fire power for excellent anti-air.
Factional differences Edit
All of the faction's air staging facility are equivalent. The UEF's, Aeon's and Seraphim's are nicknamed Refuel & Repair, Cradle and Iathu-uhthe. The seraphim equivalent has a slightly different description and appearance; it is called an Air Staging Beacon instead of an Air Staging Facility.