I believe that the way the mechanics work right now, strafe is the 'great equalizer' and does have a negative impact: strafe puts IJN and USN fighters on an equal playing field.
It makes both type of fighter equally adept at 'erasing' large number of planes in an instant. The difference between a IJN and USN strafe when enemy planes are all grouped up is negligible. Also, it makes a 2v1 fighter encounter hugely in favor of the '2' group regardless if the solo fighter is USN or not, since all the second plane has to do is strafe (while you do sacrifice one squadron you ensure the death of the enemy squad).
Strafe is what makes the IJN strike package so superior to the USN strike package.
This is pretty evident if you go play CV at rank 5 where strafe has been deactivated, all of a sudden, the IJN strike package isn't as dominating as it used to be and the USN strike package is very viable...
While I am very much against eliminating strafe mechanics, I would be in favor of changing that mechanic to keep intact the balance of power between USN and IJN. In other words, IJN strafe needs to be nerfed in comparaison to USN strafe.
My suggestion would be to cap the #plane killable by a strafe. 4-5 for IJN and 8-10 by USN... Also USN fighters should not lose more than half their fighters to a IJN strafe...
my 2 cents