I was noobing around sending myself challenges with fighter swarms, rockets and lasers, to try to work out the best way to neutralise fighters and I stumbled upon this idea which worked pretty well when I put it up against a random fighter heavy fleet.
In a group I used three frigates loaded with two AA missles each and a ton of armour but no shields and a squadron of target painter fighters (exactly like a rocket fighter but with a target painter). This comination seems to be able to beat the same point cost worth of fighters easily. The downside is that after the fighter clean up the figates are pretty useless but on the other hand when the one that the target painter fighters are escorting pops it releases a swarm of very hard to hit target painters onto the enemy fleet that make your missile cruisers more effective.
The frigates dount need much engines either since you put them at the front of the fleet and let the swarm come to you.
I also tried with an AA suppot cruiser with three target painters and two tractors but this is of course a much mroe expensive option.