Despite common opinion, air superiority doesn't solely revolve around destroying enemy aircraft the whole time. Oftentimes, oppressing the enemy's ability to construct aircraft (because of unlimited resources and the abundance of engineering power of Supreme Commander, absolute denial of construction points is impossible) can seriously hinder the opponent's ability to execute most missions including air-to-ground support.This is most easily done by`attacking the enemy's structures associated with airborne missions.
Suppression of Enemy Aircraft Support UnitsEdit
While Air Factories are -obviously- the target with the best strategic value for ACD, those building are usually near the center of the base's unit construction zones, and thus heavily shielded and defended, up to the point that the size of the force needed to destroy a large percentage of the enemy's factories may be just enough to actually finish the job directly and assasinate the enemy ACU.
However, the possible targets for ACD can be many more. Especially on the larger maps, where a succesful air strike may require the use of multiple checkpoints, the destruction of scattered Air Staging Facilities, Cruisers, and Aircraft Carriers may delay the advance of air forces. In more situational circumstances, if there is a way to quickly and stealthily destroy a Carrier before the opponent has a chance to react, then you can give him a sense of fake security, and swiftly drown the Carrier when most of the payload is stored.
Alternatively, the enemy may decide to build several Air Factories closer to points of interest, either by themselves or as a part of firebases. Those are -at most times- much less defended than those located in the main bases, and are therefore easier to destroy. At large maps, this is much more important to accomplish, as those enemies will often find using the other aircraft support facilities redundant and build less (or even none) of them.
It is even more important to locate and destroy enemy mobile units able to construct air units by itself, as the UEF and Aeon Experimental Carriers. However, other experimentals with the ability to function as mobile factories should also be terminated quickly, as they can create, fortify, and personally defend a firebase -which will almost always be fit to construct and support aircraft- with exceptional speed, ease and efficiency.
Suppression of Enemy Aircraft Construction FacilitiesEdit
If you decide to target the main base's Air Factories for whatever reason -maybe they are somehow easier to target than either the rest of the targets, or the rest of the base-, try to attack the higher-tier ones. In most matches (with the exception of some turtling or booning players), the enemy will possess multiple Factories of each type (as an unrelated note, Naval Factories will always be less than the others, and less protected. However, it doesn't matter much in ACD unless your intel shows the construction of a Carrier or a ship with harsh AA armaments) scattered across the base. Most of them are at tier 1 most of the time, with 1 or 2 being Tech 3. Even later in the game, where Tech 2 may be more prevalent, a player with more than 5 Factories has very low chances of fully upgrading all of them, unless he really has a surplus to spend. Therefore, higher-tech Factories should be targeted first if possible, as lowering the numbers of a swarm of weak units is less important than denying the opponent from including heavier ones. Of course, if the more advanced Factories are out of reach with the forces you have, then even the smaller ones you may be able to pick off are better than nothing.
Flak is better for weak swarmsEdit
If the above strategy is used, make sure your anti-air defenses consist of more Tech 2 units than Tech 3. With his more powerful aircraft production delayed, the enemy commander may panic, and retaliate by massive numbers of weak units, trying to replace the gap of the stronger units' firepower. In those cases, Flak is excellent at thinning out the masses of enemy air forces with its great damage, high rate of fire and great splash damage radius. SAM Installations, on the other hand, with its overkill damage for smaller units, impending reloading time between salvos, low speed, and the ability to track individual targets makes it best reserved for low numbers of -or even solo- aircraft with powerful armor and/or extreme proficiency at avoiding unguided projectiles (totally belonging to Tech 3, which you made sure will be delayed, except for some Tech 1 Air Scouts.) Also, make sure your own units have long surpassed Tech 1, making them more potent against the enemy's remaining forces.
There's more than one way to RomeEdit
Sometimes, Air Factories may be too difficult to successfully destroy. In those cases, some alternative ways can be used to destroy aircraft while they are being constructed, instead of destroying the construction sites themselves.
Long-Range Artillery Blueprint DisruptionEdit
If you have a long-range, high-accuracy, but kinda weak weapon system that you can use in a make-do firebase, you can achieve continuous enemy ACD by setting each shell to hit a different factory. If it hits close enough to the center of the factory, and with sufficient power, the vehicle currently being constructed will be destroyed, forcing the Factory into restarting it. During that time, heavier artillery with lower accuracy may randomly wreak havoc in the enemy base, while its biggest threat (strategic bombers) are offline.
Anti-Air Point-Offense SiteEdit
A variation of this tactic uses Anti-Air Point Defense systems located in firebases close enough to enemy airspace, which can attempt to destroy the enemy air vehicles as they exit their factory. While a tricky trick to perform, if properly built, concealed, and defended, they can deny the opponent of any air vehicles while active. A wise commander encountering such a firebase should swiftly pause any aircraft production until the threat is detected and neutralised, as most of the mass spent on them will hit the ground by thetime they are complete. Furthermore, as the vehicles leave the building vertically, they may start to air crash onto the Factory, damaging both it and any other aircraft that may have started construction.
SAM Installations are better for precision destruction of sole aircraftEdit
In this variation, Tech 3 SAMs are preffered; with a higher range and tracking abilities, the aircraft has more chances of being hit. Its drawbacks are also negated, as aircraft are destroyed one by one, and not en masse.It's important to know, however, that all variations of this tactic are rendered mostly useless if shields are active around the factories.
Both of those variations will be rendered powerless, by the presence of shields around the factories. In those cases, another strategy is needed for the shield to go down. Usually, such misions make it really easy to just attack the base as a whole directly after the shields are down.