I’ve had a thought about this for a long time.
I’ve always loved carriers, especially after the changes that were made a while back. The only thing I don’t miss is their ability to fly with subcaps effectively. Jumping into a fight is fine, but keeping up with the higher pace tempo of subcaps can leave carriers with nothing to do but cap up and jump out (LOVE the jump fatigue changes by the way) or warp off slowly. There is also the fact that subcaps get more action in most cases than carriers.
With that said, I offer a possible solution, the Escort Carrier.
I know, I know. Cap pilots want to have the glory of being the big hitters on the field and subcap pilots like to be the quicker engagement types. I just think there could be a hybrid of the two in a way. My thought was that there could be a T1 battleship hull reworked, a new hull altogether, or maybe make it a T3 hull. They would carry a single flight of fighters but instead of 9 light fighters in a squadron, there would be 12 and space superiority would be 16 instead of 12. OR, there could maybe be 2 squadrons with the same number of fighters as a carrier. The ship’s bonuses would reflect the racial of their larger counterparts, adjusted of course to not be overpowered. I was originally thinking that ship-based tackle could be used, but that might be too overpowered. Then again, if we only allowed squadrons of support fighters, the escort carrier would be nothing more than an over sized tackler, not exactly a selling point.
As with all battleship-class vessels, it would be allowed in hisec. I know that might strike a nerve with some, but if the bonuses were done properly, it would have about the same DPS than any other battleship hull. Well, it MIGHT be a little harder hitting with alpha. Network Sensor Arrays might be an option, as long as they penalize the same way as carriers.
This might not be one of the best of ideas in general, but it’s something I kind of thought might be a fun thing to have and allow more people to fly together.