First of all...
the main weapon of a carrier are fighters. I tested a lot, there are several different fighter types usable. Pirate Kea, Thor etc.... but when it comes down to the battle, there is nothing like the LX. It provides a nasty, compact profile, raw firepower (including B-HEPT), 100% rudder!!! and a rather high speed. This doubles, when they come into the fight in greater numbers. So i chose the LX as my main weapon, equiped with 8 A-HEPT, 2 B-HEPT, E-cells, jumpdrive and some Moskitos each.
After intense testing of large scale battles... 20 LX are doing a good job without freezing my PC.
The best carrier in the game is the Pirate Galleon. Of course, the Odin is the champion of all Carriers, but you have to get the reputation first, so everything starts with a Galleon and ends with an Odin
The Galleon should be equipped with 8 B-PPC (front) 4 B-FAA (back) and 32 B-KIE for the rest. This setup will cover most of all fights. B-FAA really eat your weapon energy and are less precise than KIE, if you use them in the left/right turrets.
Next thing installed on the Galleon is a ?machine array? (don't know the english name in the game) to repair docked fighters and a superfreighter, to provide more room and the ability to buy e-cells and other things rather quickly.
A carrier group is really slow. Docking and undocking are painful slowly. But if all fighters are unloaded they are able to rush every enemy in seconds. According to this, a carrier is an offensive weapon, it's weakness is defense. If you can, use P2P jumpdrive to choose your battleground. If you're ready and you've established a good formation, there will be nothing to stop you. Just jump in the sector to coordinates far away from the middle.
If you do not have P2P, get a fast M5 with jumdrive (Valkyrie) and go through the gate. On the other side, speed up and lead all those evil capships away from the gate. While you lead them away, call in your carrier, undock all fighters and the jump to the gate you just went through, dock at your carrier.
Know your enemy. A Xenon Q is no challenge... but a Xenon J is a whole differnt thing. It may contain FAA and this can be deadly, if you're not ready to handle this. Try to stay as a decoy for your fighter squadron. The AI will fly in a straight line through G-PPC fire, you're able to dodge it. Normally a capship will try to point 3 Turrets at the primary target. This leaves a wide uncovered space for your fighters to do a swift strike. Try to take advantage of everything in those battles. Rockets are devastating in large numbers. AND.... rockets drain weapon energy in large numbers. A Xenon J will start fighting the rockets of the primary target. If you use wasps, you will encounter a J without weapon energy. This is handy, because your fighters don't take a high risk to run into FAA fire.
Use a joystick, it's not healthy to do some fleet managing while fighting a K. You will be dead soon. If you use a joystick, you can turn and role while you give your orders in the sectormap window.
Deactivate scripts you don't need. The higher the fps, the higher the fun Instead of scripts, try to learn the short cuts in your menues.