Also a few thought on the Hornets.
I’m shooting for a late 80s scenario here. This would mean there are three relevant air group compositions possible. One had two fighter squadrons with F-14As or A+s and two light attack squadrons with A-7Es. The second is similar, but with two fighter squadrons, and two strike squadrons with F/A-18s. The last was used on the two surviving, obsolescent Midway class carriers, which was basically “shove as many hornets on this boat as possible”. There are also a few other variants, such as the “Grumman” or “Kennedy” wings used in Desert Storm, but for the purpose of this scenario they’re functionally identical to the first type of wing.
This poll is intended in part to help decide which to chose.
The “issue” with hornets is in this particular mission, they’re a comparatively poor choice. Their radar is fine, but they’re relatively slow, relatively short ranged, and the Sparrow is a comparatively poor choice for engaging Backfires and or AS-4s.
My impression, and this is admittedly based off of pop fiction as opposed to any actual hard doctrine, was that the Hornets would be used as a sort of second wave, hovering behind the Tomcats conserving fuel, and then sprinting as best they could once the F-14s had expended their AIM-54s. They would then try and engage any Backfires that had leaked through before they could launch their missiles, or take as good a shot as permitted against the Kh-22s. I’m not sure what the pursuit curve of a Hornet and Backfire is, but on paper the Backfire is faster.
The other concern is performance. The soviet side of this scenario will probably be something like ~80 aircraft, with a peak of probably 40 or more active at once. With two hornet squadrons the US side would be ~60 aircraft (48 fighters, some variety of AWACS and tanker assets). I frankly don’t know if or how DCS would handle that in MP. I know for sure I wouldn’t run it on my increasingly squirrelly connection. Without Hornets the US side shrinks to ~36.
That is not to say I’m opposed to Hornets. They’re (mostly, give or take 10 blocks or so, probably) period appropriate, and furthermore wicked cool. I’m more than happy to throw in a few flights of Hornets if demand is high.
Also. If anyone happens to have any of the late 80s Fleet Air Security Trainings (if those are even declassifed), or any other documents describing the Navy outer air battle doctrine, I’d appreciate it if they shot them my way.
All food for thought.