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Elite Squadrons are made of high quality parts and maintained by expert ground crews. They improve upon the statistics of regular squadrons.
  — In-Game Description 

Stats

Elite Squadrons I
EliteSquadrons1
II
EliteSquadrons2
III
EliteSquadrons3
SPECIFICATIONS Notepad
Weapon Mass 21% 32% 42%
Weapon Speed +200 m/s +400 m/s +600 m/s
Flight Time +10 s +20 s +30 s
Hull XP 1,880 XP 2,667 XP 3,410 XP
Applies to All
Restricted to Carriers
BLUEPRINT CompleteBlueprint
Tech Lab Required VI VII VIII
EQUIP ModuleRefit
Time Time 1h 42m 00s 4h 44m 30s 6h 38m 30s
Helium-3 Helium3 1,549,336 4,231,973 5,951,715
Antimatter Antimatter 387,334 1,410,658 1,983,905


General

Elite Squadrons boost your squadrons by increasing their speed and flight time. It is only available to carriers.

Despite appearing to take up additional "weapon mass", squadron mass is also increased when equipping this special.

The effects of Elite Squadrons also apply to the Mercury Beam as seen from a glowing border around the item in the build/refit screen. However, this does not actually provide any benefit: Beam weapons already have infinite speed, while flight time is not applicable to ship weapons.

Strategy

Advantages

Elite Squadrons take less time to reach their targets, therefore giving enemies a slimmer window of destroying them before starting to inflict damage.

Elite Squadrons can sustain themselves for longer before being forced to refuel, allowing them to potentially deal a massive amount of damage given that the enemy does not shoot them down.

Disadvantages

Elite Squadrons take up a lot of mass, and are usually not worth the extra firepower because you would have to downgrade your own squadrons in order to be able to equip this special.

Elite Squadrons take up a valuable special slot, meaning that only Mk IV carriers or above can handle them without sacrificing their thrusters.

Squadrons that are heavily damaged have reduced firepower. They continue to attack a ship with minimal damage until they are destroyed or their flight time expires. It is possible that a longer flight time can compromise a carrier's ability in battle.

Trivia

  • A common misconception is that Elite Squadrons are piloted by ground crews - this is not the case, the crews described are teams of mechanics and engineers who maintain the ships in peak condition.