From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
How close are we to getting the AI to use Helos?
Not close for ME, not at all for ME 1.01.
The A/I uses helos, sort of. The A/I will move helos around, have them fire, etc. What the A/I currently can't handle is Air Levels, helos moving up or down, taking off, landing, unloading passengers while at ground, etc. So A/I-guided helos will play through the game at the Air Level they initially start at. If they have passengers, too bad, because the A/I will never direct the helos to move to ground to unload them. (Under human player control, helos can do all these things, of course.)
Only 1 in 5 ME scenarios have helos. And in most of those 20% of scenarios, helos are minor sideshows. For now, for the scenarios with significant helo presence, you will just have to solo play the side with the helos. For the scenarios with an insignificant number of helos, your playing one side or the other won't make much of a difference. (Of course, there's always PBEM etc., where the lack of a helo-aware A/I won't matter.)
VN will be a different story. You can be sure we will have a fully developed helo-aware A/I ready for the Vietnam game. When we do, we will certainly back port it to ME also.