So lately while rolling around in my kitty carrier I found myself lamenting that neither side has a pure carrier focused on engineering boffs and skills.
This struck me as somewhat absurd and the best potential way to bring a true federation carrier into play.
Imagine if you will the Federation needs a platform for large scale construction work and they need it to be mobile. I mean after the Dominion war the demand for such a vessel would be quite high. Something equipped with massive cargospace and industrial replicators that can go around and provide construction support on world after world while still protecting itself from the dangers of the two Quadrants.
So you end up with a carrier. Since equipping the ship with a large number of fighter aircraft provides it with a way of defending itself that also ties very well into its intended purpose not only in that it can build its own fighter complement but also use them to help protect what its building on the planets surface as well as defend itself.