Area 88 is the titular organization from the Area 88 manga, which is also featured in U.N. Squadron.
Area 88 is a military air force base located in the middle of the Asranian Desert, which works for Asran's government forces. Area 88 employs mercenary pilots from all over the world, from war veterans to various people with troubled or shady pasts. Once a mercenary signs a contract with Area 88, he only has three ways out: either serve for three years, pay off a $1.5 million bounty, or desert and risk execution if caught.
The pilots are paid bounties corresponding to the risk of a mission and the number of downed targets, but they are only given a personal room and have to pay for all of their expenses at the base, including food and other goods as well as fuel, ammunition and parts. They also have to buy their own ships and pay for the maintenance.