They do. The pets use a tac ability on weapons on their first ever run and then at random intervals during their combat sequence.
The pets that have short recharges do the least damage. Birds of Prey have the highest alphas and the longest timers.
Its insanely important for pets because its the one time they do real damage. 'sustained' damage is very low..heck, the voquv with only turrets does more damage than todujs or slavers.
...which is why the ship would have four hangars AND only 2 weapons fore and aft. The damage is exclusively focused on pets...which are not boosted by any tac captain ability.
It seems obvious to me you do not fly a carrier in pve or pvp.
To begin with, the carrier that knows how to use its pets (that means, it doesnt just launch them and leaves the attack order on while he flies and fights with his ship...the pets are ignored during the entire fight and act merely as damage add-ons) can and does control them closely.
Toduj fighters, if controlled properly, can deliver almost as much damage as a double wing of b'rolths in the same amount of time. Attack, recall, attack, recall... it triggers their alpha strike repeatedly when you control your pets that way. Slavers can be made to generate massive minefields with the same process.
This is the type of pet-controlling combat the fleet carrier would perform on top of using sci/eng abilities to support team and his pets.
Then apologies if pets do use alphas (as in using all they got at first attack).
No, I'm not using carriers. I'm merely launching the (blue, not advanced) peregrines off my Vesta. Using them as the "damage add-on", you mention. And even so, being one of the most basic hangars to use, they cause a lot of damage with their photon torps (that they launch continually, not only on their supposed alpha).
I'm really scared of the possibility I could do more damage with them if I really tried (attack-recall, only do that rarely). If that is possible, it makes your design even more powerful than I thought.
Honestly, the gameplay added with such a ship just doesn't fit in STO, at least not now. And I'm thankful for it, since indeed, I'm not a fan of this gameplay (I'm already annoyed by the Vesta hangar). Lastly, I'm cautiously optimistic about the revealed Kamarag-class that will most likely be the free ship.
TOIVA, Toi Vaxx, Toia Vix: Bring in the Allegiance class Toi'Va, Ti'vath, Toivia: Add Tier 6 staple KDF ship types: Carrier and Bird of prey. Tae'Va, T'Vaya, To'Var: Give us Asylums for Romulans