I was surprised to not find suggestions to improve these mission types so I’ve decided to get involved and make my own suggestions.
The steal tech missions are laughably easy. with one or two fast assaults, you can literally dash past every enemy and grab 3 of the interactable objectives, often in the first turn before enemies can react.
Because the mission completes as soon as you do this, they’re incredibly easy.
Solution A: Alter the objective so that after stealing the tech you have to leave the map. This way leaving your soldiers exposed in the middle of the map actually holds a consequence.
Solution B: If you don’t want to alter the objective, maybe make the action of activating the consoles trigger reaction fire, and specifically place and enforce assaults with covering fire to actually try to defend their tech. The biggest problem with this solution is the game already does a pretty poor job of telling you when you are going to provoke a reaction and this could lead to frustrations.
Steal Aircraft Missions:
The Problem: My general strat for stealing aircraft is to hunker down somewhere and let the ai meander into me until they’re all gone. Then I casually walk over to the aircraft and slap the backspace skip turn button 5 times. Apparently “extreme” difficulty means that nobody cares about defending this expensive piece of equipment I’m about to abscond with.
The Solution (besides making ai actually defend objectives): Make the initial attack force potentially smaller. After you trigger the aircraft sequence, have enemies enter the map. Maybe its an alarm or the sound of battle or the sound of an aircraft starting up.
If there are going to be no mid-mission reinforcements on these faction aggression missions, killing all enemies should be an alternate mission completion objective.
There is nothing more tedious than killing all the enemies on a sabotage factory/food mission and then running around bashing the numerous devices around the map (I’m looking at you anu).