The ability to change sortie rates from “Surge” (faster) to “Sustained” in 1.06 of Command has been very beneficial. For the player wanting to be a munchkin/enthusiast, flipping “quick-turn-around” to on and enjoying a rapid back-and-forth between base and target can be enjoyable, as the aircraft strikes three times in three hours. For the player in a more serious state of mind, the “sustained” option allows for difficult choices and much less room for error.
The Warfare Sims article on the problems with unrealistically high sortie rates focused mainly on caffeinated strike aircraft and the problems that brought (e.g., “take off, launch that ASM, land, get another ASM attached, take off again after the plane is refueled, launch again, etc…). But what I found just as jarring in pre 1.06 builds was caffeinated fighters. Instead of a constant CAP being a difficult, monumental task: they were easy. Basic AA load-outs and their low ready times meant that any air force with planes capable of staying up for two whole hours could do a continuous patrol.
Thankfully the “Fighters and ASW” quick-turn option allows for both rushing simple air to air intercepts up and an acknowledgement of crew limitations (yes, you can do intercepts easier than exhaustively planned strikes, but even the best personnel have only so many intercepts in them).
Beyond simple realism, the sortie rates allow for varied scenarios:
-Two planned Rollback air-to-ground scenarios feature different sortie rates. One involves forward bases stuffed with A-10s and Harriers mobilized to their absolute limit, in order to give the sixth-rate force doing the actual invading a chance to get established.. Another would involve mostly the same aircraft but highly limited by logistical concerns, as the fighting stalls in every respect.
-While big multi-day scenarios are generally not my favorite to make, Lua functionality of changing doctrine could enable sortie rates to be changed part way through a big scenario. The force in question either starts low and picks up the pace as it moves to a war footing, or starts fast and then slows down to a more sustainable rate.
–Lua (the new scripting language built into Command) could technically be used to symbolize the command above the player slowing down the sortie pace if excessive losses are taken. (Player loses either too many points or aircraft, event fires switching from surge to sustained, etc…)
-One guilty pleasure has been one of the amphibious battleship conversions launching swarms of Harriers and Sea Cobras against North Vietnam, and a more subdued version of that scenario could be achieved by limiting the turnaround time while keeping the platforms.
-And finally a general peacetime crisis that demands an immediate response, but with few assets on-hand for the player side to respond with.
While I’ve yet to use them to their full potential, the sortie rate changes in Command serve as a way to make more diverse and challenging scenarios as well as model real world conflicts with higher fidelity than before.