DCS editor carrier spawns

From DCS World Wiki - Hoggitworld.com

This page details the spawn behavior of player and AI aircraft on the Aircraft Carriers in DCS.

Information is valid as of the patch that released the Super Carrier module into open beta. Information could change as the module evolves.

Basic Rules

Spawning on ships is automated in the extent that the player does not have much control over where aircraft are allowed to spawn. It is entirely dictated by how many spawn points the game thinks are available and the size of the aircraft.

  • Spawn in a specific order
    • Multiple aircraft set to spawn at mission start or the same time will spawn in the order they were placed.
  • Spawn point is determined by the size of the aircraft.
  • Spawn point can be blocked by players, AI, or static objects
  • Spawn point becomes free once the aircraft that spawned there has left the ship
  • IF spawn point not available player aircraft will receive "Your flight is delayed" message. AI will wait until enough free spots are available to spawn in.
  • The only control you have over spawn location is when using "runway" spawns which results in aircraft spawning on specific catapults.

On the Stennis and Nimitz SC objects there are 4 spawn points that are available only at mission start. These 4 are in the "six-pack" part of the ship. When there is a PLAYER skilled aircraft set in the editor the player will ALWAYS spawn in the first position. Anything that spawns at least one second after mission start will spawn in the next available spawnpoint.

AI Behavior Rules

AI are currently limited in the paths they are allowed to take. See image below taken from the model viewer. Using F-18 Hornets it shows the location of all spawn points on the deck of the ship and the paths AI use to get to catapults and to their parking spot from the landing area. BLUE is the path to catapult and GREEN is the path to parking spot.

Carrier in model viewer.PNG

Note that each spawn point has a specific path used to get to each catapult. From this image you can also see that 8 aircraft spawns are setup for the AI to go to the bow catapults while 4 are sent to the port catapults.

  • AI catapult use is dependent on where the aircraft is spawned at
  • AI do not care if static objects or players are blocking a catapult
  • AI may taxi through static objects, but if the parking area is blocked by statics they will not use it
  • AI parking spots are not blocked by players, AI *should* not taxi into the player aircraft, but they might.
  • AI will use appropriate CASE 1/2/3 recovery based on the situation
  • AI will not attempt to takeoff/land if other AI are doing the opposite action
    • Landing AI might automatically despawn on touchdown in these conditions.
  • AI despawn after 30 minutes of engine shutdown
  • If AI become damaged on the ship they will automatically despawn after a minute or two.

Nimitz class


Valid For: CVN-71, CVN-72, CVN-73, CVN-74, CVN-74 (MiniStennis), CVN-75
Spawn Information: Launch Points 4 (2 bow and 2 port)
Spawn Once: 4 (4 in the "Six Pack" area of the ship)
Spawn Points: 12 [SC] (2 on each elevator, 3 on "patio", 1 in the corral)

6 [Stennis] (2 on elevator 2, 3, and 4)

Parking 16 (6 starboard side elevators that will park in hanger deck, 4 in "Junkyard", 3 on patio, 1 in corral, 2 on the point.)
  • F-14s, due to its size have fewer spawn points than F-18s, E-2s, and S-3s.
  • AI aircraft taxiing to catapult 1 may be slowed or blocked by any object from the Patio to Elevator 1. For instance if an E-2 is in the forward most spawn point (taxi 11) will cause this.

AI Spawn point to catapult paths:

 Catapult 1: 1, 5, 9, 11, 14
 Catapult 2: 2, 6, 10, 12, 13
 Catapult 3: 3, 7, 15
 Catapult 4: 4, 8, 16

Forrestal Class

Valid For: CV-59, (CV-60, CV-61, CV-62 not yet added)
Spawn Information: Launch Points 4 (2 bow and 2 port)
Spawn Once 4 In six pack
Spawn Points 8 (all on starboard side) 2 forward of island on elevator, remaining 6 aft of island all in a row.
Parking 8 (identical to spawn points)
  • Forrestal is an older design of carrier, there is no "safe" place to park on the port side of the ship that doesn't also block the landing area.
  • Port Elevator on the Forrestal class is located at the forward end of the landing area.

AI spawn point to catapult paths:

  Catapult 1: 1
  Catapult 2: 2
  Catapult 3: 3, 5, 7
  Catapult 4: 4, 6, 8

Admiral Kuznetsov (2017)

Valid For: Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov
Spawn Information: Launch Points 3 (2 bow and 1 port)
Spawn Points: 9 (all on starboard side, 5 next to the island and 4 behind the 2nd elevator)
Parking 9 (identical to spawn points)
  • The short (1 and 2) bow launch positions are more limited in weight restrictions.
  • 5 forward spawn points taxi to launch points 1 and 2.
  • 4 aft spawn points all taxi to launch point 3.
  • There are no parking locations in the hanger deck.


Valid For: Tarawa
Spawn Information: Launch Points 4 (Spaced along the runway line starting at 450 feet)
Parking 8 (4 on the bow and 4 on the stern to the right of the landing area)
  • No "Ramp" spawns are available, all spawns are in the landing area.
  • AI take-off behavior is limited, it is possible for AI to collide with other aircraft in front of them.


The CVN-70 and Admiral Kuznetsov are legacy 3d models from Lock-On: Modern Air Combat. While they are different ships with some differences in behavior they are still more similar to each other than any of the newer modeled carriers.

  • No "Ramp" spawn points exist for either of these ships.
  • Aircraft only spawn on catapults
  • Players can spawn, take-off, and land
  • Elevators are dangerous for player aircraft as the surface is not solid
  • (Kuznetsov) Unless spawned there on "cat" 2 or 3, the launch holdback only works on the first launch area
  • (Kuznetsov) It is possible for Player and AI Su-33 to be to heavy to launch from the short take-off positions.
Valid For: CVN-70, Admiral Kuznetsov
Spawn Information: Launch Points (Vinson) 4 (2 bow and 2 port)
Launch Points (Kuznetzov) 3 (2 "short" and 1 "long")