The Airgame is good as it´s now for Xenonauts 2. You haven´t played it but we Betas did. And we can say that the new Airfight-System have many Surprisses.
If you read the Bug Part, you will know the first of it. The first thing is that your Fighters are refitable (Armor, Guns, Rockets). In the first Betas before it was limited you could choose extra Fuel and 2 more things I have forgotten.
The Condor and Foxtrott for the Player is out of Order. Instead you get an Top-Secret-Special-Plane on the beginning from the Storyline, which is atm "Top Secret". Only the big Financers have Standard-Planes (Condor, Migs or so).
The first UFO´s are like in Xenonauts 1 doable with the beginning Weapons and Starting-Planes. But then you need upgrades for your planes very quickly. Better Rockets and the Gattling-Laser like in Xenonauts 1 are the Minimum. And not to forget the Advanced-Armor!
The Airfight themself isn´t so easy anymore, because the Aliens get better UFO´s before you and your Financers get an better Fighter. The UFO´s are still "Top Secret" for the normal Players, but one I can say: "Have Fun when you fight against the Advanced Variants." I personally get crying if they show up, because you know you won´t have a chance or only a little chance against them.
The biggest difference to the Fighting System to X1 is that you dosen´t have the Afterburner. And there are much more surprisses which we all don´t know yet.
I liked the Airfightscreen from X1, because it was a seperate Minigame in the Maingame. No one before did that in Strategy-Games. The Airfight-Map is mostly the same as in X1 with more Surprises.
The Reason we are going back to this is, that we tested many other Options (like a similar and much more easyer Variant from the X-Com Enemy Unknown / Terror from the Deep-Airfight). All of them dosen´t give the Player a Feeling to be closely connected with his Pilots (Woman / Men). With the upgraded existing System from X1 you are.
The first X-Com Games (Enemy Unknwown / Terror from the Deep) were good and you had a feeling with your Pilots in an seperate Screen. You hoped that they can shoot down the Enemys before your Pilots get pulverized.
The third X-Com Game (Apocalypse) set on an real time Airfight- / Spacefight on the Main-Screen. That system you get in UFO Extraterestials and in the upcomming UFO 2 Extraterestials-Game too. There you had the same feeling with your Pilots and hoping that they shoot down the Enemys before your Pilots get pulverized. And one more thing is comming there (esp. in X-Com Apoc.): Don´t destroy the Buildungs / the Towns in that fight.
The fourth X-Com Game (Interceptor) set an real time Airfight- / Spacefight system in an seperate Flying Similuator-Fight. There you set an Fighter for yourself and get the best feeling with your Pilots. It´s like an War-Flight-Sim where you and your Comrades fight togehter to beat the enemy. You can die or shoot down. That was like Goldhawk do too an new implementation in an Strategy-Game. It was an Prototype, which were sadly never made it in such Games again (since over 20 Years).
The badest Airfight-System I have seen in the XCOM-Refit (Enemy Unknwon / DLC Enemy Within). It brings many new things in the Game, but the Refit System of the Fighters are to limited. And the Airfight isn´t so good controllable like in the first X-Com-Series, UFO-Extraterestial-Series or Xenonauts.
If I watch other Strategy Games and the Space- / Airfight-System you have a similar Airfight- / Spacefight-System like in Xenonauts (like in Master of Orion [Refit], Galactic Civilization III, Battlestar Galactica and similar Games). In some of them you can controll the Ships and Weapons, in the others not.
That what Goldhawk give us as a real-time Airfight-System is the best System we have atm. Goldhawk set a new Standard for the Airfight- / Spacefight-System in a Strategy Game with an limited development Costs for a full Game.
Not to forget, that I played them all besides UFO 2 Extraterstials which will come in September this year.