People seem to move threads here from the old forum so…
The idea of escort/pocket/light carriers pops up regularly. Battleship (most likely marauder) sized fighter platforms, faster to learn and cheaper to produce than normal carriers, and able to move and operate basically everywhere. I would give them the ability to fly light and support fighters, two squads at a time and have 4 fighter launchers.
The problems usually come when these ships are either OP or useless without exclusive roles.
Historically these discount carriers had support roles:
1, ensuring air-superiority
2, providing air support where normal carriers can’t go
3, serving as back-up carriers
I think these roles can be translated to the game too:
1, currently no carriers have bonuses to space superiority fighters, so this role would be perfect for them, they could counter the structures’ fighter defense anywhere or help carriers focusing on the combat by keeping enemy drones and fighters away
2, because of their “small” size these ships could move through hi-sec, or even wormholes, to support a surprise attack
3, this one was tough, but I think I found an amazing option to serve as a “back-up” next to other carriers: the fighter bays can be assigned to be used by carriers and super carriers. So while a fighter squad is refueling on a carrier, another quad can launch from the escort carriers, meaning that the carrier won’t lose damage during fighter maintenance. This mechanic would also allow faster switch between fighter types.
Of course these ships won’t be too impressive on their own, their primary job is to help carriers in fleet battles.