I in fact wrote a longer post to my previous one which was saying more or less this. I do think there is some tactical thinking, but only in the sense of there being a bit of a puzzle to figuring out some UFOs which, once you have it, then just becomes routine.
On reflection, where I was suggesting it be more challenging than X1, I think what I actually meant is that the difficulty should be more dynamic, rather than it should just be blanket harder. I.e. it should stretch your resources more, such that you need to make strategic level decisions about how much and what to invest in the air game, and make strategic decisions about what to commit to particular engagements. The skill required to do the air game is therefore somewhat up to the player: players who are good at it might be able to get away with less investment or take on more risky challenges.
But I guess this is envisaging the air game as a "push-your-luck" system, which is pretty much what I envisaged the turn based version might be as well. I.e. it's less about making tactical decisions which make the difference between winning and losing (because I don't think either system can make that work very well, since the cost of losing is too high and the range and variation of situations too low for it not to become routine quickly) but it can allow tactical-come-strategic decisions about what you're willing to risk and what you're priorities are (e.g. do you take chances in an air combat to bring down a big UFO with lots of resources on it, or do you play it safe and just take a chance with some low-probability attacks in the hope of getting some lucky hits; which fits into a wider strategic-level game of how much you're investing in air superiority at all).
A weird sort-of compromise here would be to have a system like the fleet battles in Endless Space 2 - i.e. you select an attack mode for each of your aircraft before engagement and then the whole thing plays out automatically without direct input from the player. Offers some strategic/tactical choice, makes engagements pretty quick, and takes away the reflex/twitch requirements. Could be augmented by having some some binary mode or one-use command which can be activated during the engagement for some direct player involvement?