Before you go and take issue with "underutilized", think about it. What are corvettes used for? Sniping recyclers? FR/FT do nearly as well, let alone a BS or DN. Scouting? Scout ships, while larger and more fragile, are also nearly double the speed of corvettes, especially for warp-based specs. Fodder? Not on newer servers, unless you are building caps.
No one (well, almost no one) builds a corvette stack. The few people who tried it enjoyed it, but eventually moved on to a more traditional spec because it had too many limitations.
- 1) They are stellar units, so loss of JG access will doom the entire fleet. Frigates have the same problem, but they at least carry their own fighters and can survive a little bit more confrontation.
2) They are fast. This is both a strength and a weakness. It's a weakness because they are far faster than any existing carrier unit, and use a different drive technology than the most efficient carriers. Taking time to wait for carriers, and the fighter cover they bring, removes this specialization's main virtue.
3) They have low power. HC and above can rape them if given the opportunity. Their speed allows them to escape most of the time, but a little added survivability would go a long way to making this a viable specialization in its own right.
Effectively, the CV swarm, the only viable "CV spec", is just an underpowered, expensive FT swarm. Aside from the speed there's no reason for anyone to use it, unless...
Corvettes had hangars.
[Update] Add half a hangar (0.5 hangars) to each Corvette unit. This actually makes perfect sense, as, according to the powers that be*, each unit of Fighters, Bombers, Heavy Bombers, and Ion Bombers represents multiple individual craft (hence why their names, alone among the ships of AE, are plural (e.g. "Fighters" vs. "Frigate" on the Production page)), which could be divided among multiple Corvettes, along with the supplies and crew necessary to maintain them. The cost-per-power of a CV+FT fleet with 0.5 hangars would now be 4.5:1, compared to 5:1 for Frigates or raw CVs, and 7:1 for fresh FC+FT (before refills). This is balanced by their low penetration vs. anything above Cruisers, as well as several other minor drawbacks.
It is my belief that, in addition to increasing the viability of CVs, this idea would also increase the popularity of Battleships as a shield-rape spec, in a similar fashion to the way the improvements to Frigates increased the popularity of Dreadnoughts. As such this a boost to not one, but two underutilised specializations.
*I can't be bothered to track down the original source, suffice to say that Wizard and/or Mike confirmed that hangar units are groups rather than single ships in some 3-D graphics related post. [/Update]
The ability to carry a limited number of fighters and/or bombers with them at CV speed would bring their ratios on par with most other specializations, though not quite bringing them to the godlike level of a FT swarm.
I think you will agree, once you have considered all the benefits this change would bring to AE, that Wizard should implement it post haste.
[Old Text] Just one per ship. Nothing too extravagant. Because there is only one per ship, they would be limited to carry 1-hangar drop units like FT and BO. This limitation, coupled with their lower power means they won't replace Frigates, even though, with this change, both units would have the same number of hangars per credit. [/Old Text]