I've done some game development before. I just want to point out that an AI system for the hangar ships could be so much more than it is now.
What we have now is pretty bad. Using an Atrox with Advanced Stalker hangar pets, I can tell there are some imbalances. First off, no matter how stealthy a ship is, if it only has 2,777 hull, it will die if it kills anything. Part of this problem is because they just fly right into the object they are trying to shoot and just park there. They do not fly around shooting, they cling like flies. When all 12 hangar pets are sticking to a cube, the moment it dies and causes the initial explosion, there goes all ships. If they manage to be far away enough from that one, the following explosion does the job.
Another example. Enemy ships 11km away. In the hangar ship description it says it will seek out any living target within 15km. My question is, why will my ships ignore the enemy ships that are in range or close to being in range... and go fly 60km away to attack something that another player is fighting?
Half of my ships do nothing. I can spawn them and they sit there. Just to make sure, I click the Attack or Intercept action, but only half of the ships respond. If I go full impulse, sometimes they follow, sometimes they do not. It ends up being easier to re-summon the ships because they end up being so far away and they go so slowly to catch up.
Every one of the Advanced Stalker ships combined is 33,324 hull. That's all 12 ships. The KDF frigate ships have 31k+ hull each. Even Delta/Danube have 18k hull. It isn't just about the total hull though, it is about the ability to kill something without losing all hangar ships. Sure, a frigate might be on fire/damaged, but at least it can continue fighting. Destroy one probe and all the low hull hangar pets die.
What it should be like? Hangar pets should keep a distance. They should fly like every other ship. Sometimes yes, ships get close, but they don't just ram into you and sit there. Smaller hangar pets should break formation and fly away from an exploding ship. They are seriously outgunned to begin with, they should have some sort of survivability bonus. If hangar ships, specifically the smaller ones, could go 30 seconds without killing themselves, they would be somewhat useful. I don't know about everyone else, but I think it is only fair that the pets can keep up with the carrier's speed. Going from place to place and having to re-summon ships each time is just wrong.
I know it isn't just me. I see other people's hangar pets doing the same things. I also see the owners of those hangar pets get as frustrated as I do. Who cares if 12 Adv Stalkers has more dps than 4 KDF frigates, because it is not often you have 12. By the time you can launch the 2nd wing, the first is usually already dead.
Again, the ships can stay as fragile as they are -if- the AI made a bit more sense. Enemy carrier pets seem to fly around and shoot just fine. How come player controlled ones don't?