(I played an earlier version of this, so this is just a quicker summary this time.)
The game starts up, and man that's a lot of satellites! Fortunately, it's cloudy, so they can't spot me optically, but ELINT will still work fine. If I so much as turn on a radar they'll know where I am immediately. Plus, the Chinese have a pair of OTH radars on the mainland, poised to detect me if I head north. Luck of the draw puts two of my subs up north near Hainan, and one of them is the Ohio SSGN, crammed with cruise missiles. She immediately opens fire, using about 60% of her missiles to destroy both OTH radars, and flatten the hangars and wreck the runways on Woody Island. This should give me freedom to advance the carrier without being spotted, as well as opening a gap in the Chinese air cover north of the Spratleys.
The Chinese shoot back, bombarding Guam with a couple of salvos of ballistic missiles. I've got a THAAD battery there, which manages to knock off a few missiles, while the remainder land among my ammo bunkers. Fortunately, although some take damage, none are destroyed.
While that's going on, my stealth aircraft pincer the Spratleys from the north and south, and my F-15s do what they can from the east. Mostly they end up running away from missiles that appear out of nowhere, but they perform a valuable distraction role, allowing my stealthy aircraft to get in and focus on knocking down the Chinese AWACS and tankers. I also start getting good hits on the J-20s (and there are a lot of them), and I often find them as they try to refuel. As the patrols over the islands start getting cleared out, my fighters can intercept the Chinese reinforcements as they come south over the open ocean, since there are no longer any fighters from Woody Island to interfere. There are a number of alarming close-ranged encounters when opposing stealth-fighters meet at optical ranges, but things generally go my way.
At sea, my LCS (now the version that actually has missiles) swats the Chinese coast-guard cutter, and heads in to occupy its spot. My Australian diesel sub kills two ships lurking in the Spratleys, using night-time BOL Harpoon shots to hit them before they can react. There's also a pair of modern Chinese ships headed rapidly south-east into the Spratleys. My southern SSN is sent into their path, and manages to torpedo them both.
The Chinese carrier group is the big prize, and my F-35s find it during their efforts to hunt down tankers. It's headed north towards Hainan, to my surprise, rather than south into battle, but that means it's headed right towards the Ohio and my other SSN. My fighters knock off the enemy air-wing, and then kill the ASW helicopters, and set up a cordon to hit any which launch. F-15s may be outclassed against J-20s, but they work just fine for swatting helicopters. My two subs then batter the carrier group to pieces, staying well out of range of the short-ranged ASW torps on the ships themselves.
Air attacks on the Spratleys start in the small hours of the morning. Carrier-based F-18s coordinate with Australian F-18s to hit Fiery Cross Reef in the south-west. The HQ-9 batteries with their built-in CIWS are very tough targets, and shoot down a lot of incoming ordnance, but they get damaged or run out of missiles by the time the JASSMs arrive to shut the runways. P-8s use their SLAMs to engage the radars which are dispersed on the central islands. My heavy bombers don't arrive from Guam until the morning, but when they arrive coordinated DEAD missions (F-35s with SDBs, EF-18s with ARMs) open the route for the JASSMs to strike unmolested. The northern-eastern islands (Woody Island, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef) are all hit hard and put out of operation.
Meanwhile, my carrier has rounded the Indonesian west coast and is headed NE off the Malaysian coast, using its mine-sweeping helicopters to check for surprises in the choke-points between the islands. There have been a lot of UAVs operating north of us, which seem silly, but are actually quite dangerous if they cue anti-shipping ballistic missiles. I've knocked them down, and am feeling reasonably confident in my invisibility, so I've only got half a dozen fighters assigned to CAP, and the rest are involved in follow-up strikes on the islands. Naturally, that's when I get spotted...
Radar picket drones start getting glimpses of a few slow-moving planes headed south, and at first I assume it's a few more ASW Cubs or tanker Badgers trying to resume patrols. It's actually a massive incoming Badger strike. My only four ready dedicated fighters are sent north to meet it, and I start launching a hodge-podge of my few ready strike aircraft (anything with a missile on it), while F-22s scramble on a desperate super-cruise dash to try and cut off the incoming raid. Fortunately, some of the Badgers are already turning back, and my CAP and EF-18s manage to destroy most of the rest that push on. By the time the fuel-starved F-22s arrive, and start gulping at the one half-full tanker, there's nothing to do. One refuelled flight dashes north and manages to catch and kill a few retiring Badgers, but the rest make it safely back to base.
I got lucky here. If the Badgers had all arrived in a pack, instead of a 150-mile-long string, and had all pushed on to the target, then I might have been in a very embarrassing position. What spotted me? Probably a sub. One was detected (and sunk) north of the carrier group just before the Badgers showed up. Later another one was detected when it took a missile shot at the carrier group! This was easily shot down, and the sub was sunk, but I had to turn on my radars to do it, and I was very worried about a DF-21 attack as a result. Fortunately, nothing happened. A snorkelling sub was also sunk near my LCS up by Scarborough Shoal, and the Ohio got a whiff of something else up north, but was never able to pin it down, even with help from the P-8s.
(And that’s how it ended. Thanks for continuing to tweak and develop this scenario.)
Do the Chinese have any radar satellites? That would really change things. I was able to hide for most of the scenario, but there’s no hiding from those. It would have been DF-21s inbound from the start.
The ‘Submarine Picket Patrol’ and ‘Type 039G1 Sea Control’ patrols have no prosecution area, and the subs are allowed to investigate contacts outside the patrol zone. This means they plot courses towards the sea-borne radar over by Guam, when it gets detected by satellite ESM. They would be better off confined to a patrol/prosecution area in the South China Sea.
There is no event to give points for sinking Type 093 subs.
It might be a bit of nice feedback if the player got a message on arrival at Scarborough Shoal, and on completion of the minimum duration?
There are points events for destroying runways, taxiways, weather shelters, etc. This sort of open structure can never be destroyed, so the player will get no points for them. They would need a damaged trigger instead.
The helicopter on the Peralta ASW patrol is allowed to investigate contacts outside the patrol zone, and will try and head for contacts in the South China Sea.
There are utility helicopters with troop loadouts on the Liaoning’s ASW patrol mission.
There are Cubs with sonobuoys on the UAV Recon mission way down south, which is an ASuW patrol. Had you wanted them on a separate ASW patrol mission to use their sonobuoys? They might be handy to check for subs in the carrier’s area of operation, or in among the Spratleys. (They got killed off quite quickly all alone down south.)
It might be helpful for the Flankers on Liaoning’s anti-shipping patrol to have engage opportunities set to yes, to help them deal with American fighters in the area. Otherwise they mostly just fly around at very low level until they get shot. (Would they be better off as part of the AAW patrol, or an AAW intercept? There’s a lot of them tied up a mission that will only ever have two in the air at once, so they’re unlikely to get through any US ship defences. They might have been very useful trying to keep the F-15s off the ASW helicopters.)
I found the western tanker circle to be fairly exposed to attack (once I had found it), and it tended to pull fighters away from the Chinese ships and islands, and put them in a place I could deal with them in isolation, away from their SAMs and other patrol-mates. I’m not sure if moving it a bit north towards the carrier would help? Maybe there’s no great place for it once it’s identified.
ASW helicopters are mostly using Mk46s. I switched them over to Mk50s using the editor. I think they’d probably be using the good stuff, given how serious the situation is.
One of CSG 9’s RPs for the AAW mission is out of position.
The USS Ohio is not listed in section 5 b of the side briefing.