An Airstrike is a military action that can only be performed if you have Aircraft.
Through airstrikes you can choose to target and destroy Infrastructure, Aircraft, Soldiers, Tanks, Ships or Money. In every Airstrike, there is always a chance to destroy defending enemy Aircraft. However, if you target Aircraft (referred to as a Dogfight), the number of the opponent's destroyed Aircraft increases considerably.
Aircraft do not loot money, not even when they target money (in which case, they simply bomb and destroy it).
To execute an Airstrike, you need to have at least 3 Aircraft, a force that is enough to get an Immense Triumph from an airstrike against a nation with 0 aircraft.
You can use the Airstrike Battle Simulator to simulate several airstrikes in order to estimate your chances for a specific type of victory and the losses from your side and that of your opponent.
Each side has an airforce value calculated by the following formula:
Each airforce does a series of three rolls between 40% and 100% of its Airforce Value. Each roll is compared to the opponent's roll and the following table applies:
3/3: Immense Triumph
2/3: Moderate Success
1/3: Pyrrhic Victory
0/3: Utter Failure
From the above, it becomes evident that even when you have less aircraft than your opponent, it is actually possible to get a victory. Even if this victory is not an Immense Triumph, getting just a victory is many times enough (for example to break air superiority and free your ground forces).
If the result of the battle is a victory (not an Utter Failure), the attacker will nullify any Air Superiority the defender may have against the attacker. If the attacker gets specifically an Immense Triumph, he/she will also take Air Superiority (which decreases the amount of Tanks to be used by 50%) and nullify any Air Superiority the defender may have in all of his/her active wars. This can be really devastating for a nation that is engaged in many wars. Air superiority in all active wars is also lost when all the air forces of the nation are destroyed.
The amount of damage done by an airstrike is dependent upon a number of factors.
The base formula for infrastructure damage is:
Infrastructure Destroyed = MAX( MIN(Attacking Aircraft - (Defending Aircraft * 0.5) * 0.35353535 * RAND(0.85,1.05) * (Victory Type / 3), City's Infrastructure * 0.5 + 100), 0)
War Type and War Policy factors are multiplied to the base damage calculation. Victory Type is 0 for Utter Failure, 1 for Pyrrhic Victory, 2 for Moderate Success, and 3 for Immense Triumph.
For Airstrike types that are not explicitly "Target Infrastructure" the amount of infrastructure destroyed is reduced to 1/3 of the original calculation.
This section covers the various formulas for airstriking different targets. Note, that the formulas below hold strictly true only for Immense Triumphs. In Moderate Successes, only 70% of the calculated casualty total below will be applied. In Pyrrhic Victories, only 40% of the calculated casualty total below will be applied. In Utter Failures, strictly no targeted units will be killed (with the exception of Aircraft, which may be killed as they are defending units in the battle.)
Soldiers Killed = ROUND( MAX( MIN( Enemy Soldiers, Enemy Soldiers * 0.75 + 1000, (Attacking Aircraft - Defending Aircraft * 0.5) * 35 * RAND(0.85,1.05)), 0))
Tanks Killed = ROUND( MAX( MIN( Enemy Tanks, Enemy Tanks * 0.75 + 10, (Attacking Aircraft - Defending Aircraft * 0.5) * 1.25 * RAND(0.85,1.05)), 0))
Aircraft casualties are determined separately through the Rolls battle mechanic. Each Roll, a value between 40% of the attacker's air force value and the total value is randomly generated, and similarly for the defender. These values are compared, resulting in the roll outcome that determines the Victory Type of the battle (see above.)
Battle casualties are also determined at this step. The air force values going in are the Attacking Aircraft * 3 and the Defender's Aircraft * 3 for attackers and defenders, respectively.
If the Airstrike type is a Dogfight (Target Aircraft) then the attacker's casualties per roll are: Defender's Roll * 0.01. The defender's casualties per roll are: Attacker's Roll * 0.018337.
If the Airstrike type is not a Dogfight (anything besides Target Aircraft) then the attacker's casualties per roll are: Defender's Roll * 0.015385. The defender's casualties per roll are: Attacker's Roll * 0.009091.
Ships Killed = ROUND( MAX( MIN( Enemy Ships, Enemy Ships * 0.5 + 4, (Attacking Aircraft - Defending Aircraft * 0.5) * 0.0285 * RAND(0.85,1.05)), 0))