Sit on the tail of an enemy fighter, match speed, and use burners when he does while firing guns and turning with him. Works extremely well for Basilisks, where you can fall in behind an entire formation and take them out in a matter of seconds after you've matched speed with the first one.
Problem with this is that you're basically dead if the AI tries it against you and your fighter is less maneuverable than theirs is. So one thing I'd like to see is AI that keeps a kind of ESP out for enemy fighters, and will disengage from combat in order to scare off fighters attached to the ships they're supposed to be defending. (Of course you're still dead if you've got no wingmen...)
Another thing that would be nice would be more burners usage when not in combat. For example, traveling long distances.
Another nice thing would be friendly fighters that auto-equalize their shields after combat, and set shield charge to full when not engaged to replenish their shields (same for guns, engines, etc.)
AI that uses Trebuchets, Stilletos properly, esp if they're attacking a ship that has one or two cannons on a side that are doing the most damage. As well as directing fire towards targets of opportunity on the hull when attacking (eg turrets or subsystems).
AI that reorients itself so that its gun banks are most in line with the widest area of the ship.
Bombers that wait to launch their bombs until very close to the target ship, as well as juking and using burners to try and throw off defender fire. Right now the first wave of bombs that bombers launched is virtually always shot down if the ship has any decent fighter defenses whatsoever.
Calling for a support ship whenever critical systems are disabled. Of course, this is a bit unfair since I think the AI can't call for support when its comm system is damaged or destroyed, whereas the player can. However, the support ship AI should be improved to head for ships with dead comm systems, and the AI should be smart enough to sit there and wait for it (Provided their are no hostiles in the mission. If there are, and the fighter's weapons are dead, and no enemy ships are attacking it, it should go in for resupply anyway).
Running like the dickens when a big ship blows up (including burners). Although it is kind of fun to vaporize your wingmen in a Demon's explosion.
Retreating towards friendly capital ships with anti-fighter guns when faced with overwhelming odds.
Coming to a stop in front of oncoming wings and firing off missiles at different ships until the oncoming wing begins firing missiles, then turn tail and launch countermeasures before they can hit. Presumably retreating towards your wingmates or capital ships. Only really a good tactic if you've got long-range missiles and they've got short-range missiles, and your fighter is faster than theirs or you're close enough to friendly ships that the speed difference won't be enough to get you killed.
Use the afterburner and turn way more when getting shot at from behind. I can't count the number of times I've watched a friendly fighter speed along in a straight line, while two or more enemy fighters sit behind it and pummel it with lasers.
Have AI that learns the "sweet spot" in head-on confrontations - that point where the enemy fighter can't really turn and launch countermeasures for it to be effective because it's so close, but not so close that the missiles won't be able to turn rapidly enough to hit it.
When an AI fighter finds itself outside the battle with homing missiles, it sits back and takes aim at enemy fighters and fires away until one of them takes notice or they're all dead.For capital ships:
Hoo boy, where to begin here? Probably a FREDder would be better equipped to handle this section, but I digress...
Better tactical strategy, depending on gun placement and enemies faced. Should avoid enemy beams while trying to bring its own big guns to bear. Should understand whether the enemy can blow it away in one blast (Sathanas vs Fenris) and it needs to prioritize getting out of a danger spot to even survive at all, or if the enemy can't hit it with anything significant while it brings its big guns to bear (Aten vs Deimos).
Better bomb defense strategy. Sometimes, blowing up bombers is better than blowing up bombs because they keep launching bombs as they go, and once they get to 100m or so the bombs can't be intercepted as easily and fewer turrets can reach them.
When faced with a fighter taking out turrets and with no other orders, the AI moves to bring itself within the protective sphere of other ship turrets or towards the attacking ship.
Like fighters, capital ships should go for targets of opportunity on an enemy capital ship's hull, especially when it can take pot shots at bigass beam cannons that would rip it to shreds.
On that note, capital ships should be smart enough to try and maneuver around so ships like the Lilith can't bring their big gun(s) into play as easily (more or less part of "Better tactical strategy", but it deserves to be explicitly stated).
Capital ships should maneuver to bring themselves closer to their fighter cover's sphere of influence, both to assist them and to gain greater protection, as long as they have no conflicting orders.
In the event of one side's turrets getting destroyed by enemy forces, the ship should roll to bring its other side to bear - unless friendly forces are still in the process of killing the ships with Stilletos/disruptors that caused it, in which case the capital ship should rotate away in order to prevent those ships from taking any more subsystems down before they're destroyed.
When encountering a blockade with turrets, capital ships should prioritize turrets with big beam weapons for "conversation" with their large beams, and fire slow-moving blob turrets at stationary fighter turrets. More or less makes a blockade obsolete, but what the hell, it's more realistic, right?
In an asteroid field, capital ships should go to town on the asteroids except in the case of limited ammo or if fighters are on that side.
When two capital ships are assigned to guard another capital ship, they should hang out where that capital ship does not possess weapons comparable to theirs. For example, an Aeolus might hang out underneath a Demon, while an Orion would want to stay on Hecate's side to boost its broadside firepower.
When a ship has a fighterbay and is flying adjacent to another friendly ship, it should rotate its fighterbay to put it under protection from the other ship as well.
When another capital ship is exploding, other capital ships should vector away from it (Even though it probably won't do any good unless they're really fast for a capship).
If a capship notices a stationary fighter (disabled, rearming, sniping) in the range of its big ship guns, and it doesn't have any capital ships to shoot at, it fires on the stationary fighter. (However, if the fighter moves enough while it's powering up, it misses.)
If a fighter starts taking out its guns and hugging the surface, the capship should start turning in a direction which makes this difficult or uncomfortable. Possibly apply the Pancake effect?
In the event of a heavy bomber attack, capital ships should move closer to anti-fighter capital ships to bring more guns to bear. In the event that a ship is basically dead, it should make a good-faith attempt at getting itself far enough away from other capital ships to reduce the effects of its death, and to give them more time to get in a more appropriate formation.
Antifighter capital ships should move to the appropriate side of a capital ship to defend from bomber attacks, but remain wary of suprise attacks from the other side.Pathfinding
All AI should have the ability to find itself a way around any object in its path, as well as a rudimentary pathfinding ability for if it gets stuck in a maze of some kind. (eg flying through a ship's corridors)
AI should have the ability to follow strict paths - so FREDder can give ships precise maneuvers - and loose paths, where ships are free to react to changing conditions before proceding towards the waypoint(s).