"Those are pretty good theories, and some of them are correct.
It is true that the PACT cruisers can carry a small complement of ryders, but the cruiser's ryder complement is generally limited to reconnaissance and light patrol. The ryders may be able to serve a defensive role against lone ships like the Sunrider, but in a battle operation, the cruiser's carrier capabilities are negligible. The cruiser does not carry enough ryders to be considered a carrier by military standards. The cruiser's ryder complement is based of of some WWII battlecruisers which launched small scout ships, mainly for the same reason. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Prince_of_Wales_(53)
The Sunrider's design is unorthodox by prevailing military doctrine in the world of Sunrider, as conventional carrier classes have ryder compartments two to three times the Sunrider's size, and feature larger hull frames. Carrier-classes are large, bulky, and lack substantial weapons, which hold position at a distance of about 500 000 miles from the actual battle zone, and usually blockaded by a wall of battleships which provide both energy shielding and cover fire for the carriers.
Traditional doctrine called for two fleets comprised of battleships and carriers to meet in two parallel lines, and exchange laser fire at a distance of hundreds of thousands of miles until one fleet was left. Bomber ryders were intended to reach the opposing fleet's carriers, while infantry ryders were to provide both cover for friendly bomber ryders and eliminate enemy ryders. Bomber ryders, while vulnerable to laserfire, could be mass produced in such large quantities that laser would not be able to destroy the entire squad, and some would survive to reach the enemy's carriers.
However, the rediscovery of energy shielding approximately four decades prior has caused a paradigm shift in military doctrine. Energy shielding as rendered lasers more and more obsolete. Now the current doctrine is building smaller, and more agile ships, and engaging fleets at point blank range with kinetic and missile weapons. While lasers still play a role in battle, they are gradually becoming replaced with flak and kinetics, and ships are becoming quicker and more maneuverable.
Many traditionalists in the major factions of the galaxy still refuse to embrace the new reality, and still use massive carriers, which are now vulnerable to newer small destroyers and frigates which can quickly close ranges and fight at point blank distances. Old battleships are still mighty, but their power is now dampened by energy shields which render their long range attacks ineffective. The nation of Cera was one of the first to realize that war has changed and construct the first assault carrier, a lighter, sleeker carrier which could engage the enemy at point blank range with kinetics, while still fielding a squadron of ryders. However, years of military doctrine favoring laser fights over astronomical distances still provide a heavy bias in the military, which necessitated a new generation of officers to be trained for the Sunrider who could grasp the quick pace of close range combat.
Modern military strategists refer to the "saturation point," or the point where so many shield generators have gathered in a single point as to provide 100% nullification of all laser weaponry. At that point, the only remaining option is to order all ships to charge forward and engage the enemy at knife fight distance. Such battles have seen heavy destruction of carriers and battleships by smaller destroyers and ryders. However, the lack of conflict within the Solar Alliance for nearly a century has left the Alliance in the dark about the extent of how obsolete current military doctrine has become. PACT officers have seen battle and are generally more willing to use smaller and quicker forces - however, the traditionalist faction in the PACT fleet which is composed of former Imperial officers who changed sides during the Revolution, have still urged the construction of massive carriers as a point of national pride."