I have an idea that might work for strike craft. It would be a hybrid in that it wouldn’t completely implement HW1 fuel system, but bear with me.
Strike craft have a “fuel timer” that runs as long as they are in motion - let’s say 2 minutes. After the timer runs out they must return for refueling. This makes carriers relevant because fighter squadrons can’t travel the whole map because of limited range.
When they dock they are refueled and repaired thus prolonging their lifespan and making battles more interesting in that attacking craft would have less in air time than their target’s defending craft unless a carrier comes in close to support them.
Assume carriers can supply fuel to strike craft without limitation.
Thoughts? Please be constructive.