Well in reality fighter bombers are always slow and as such get chewed up by enemy fire no matter what weapon… After uncountable hours trying to get a working fighter and bomber controll scheme i figured out the following.
Set your bombers to prioritze fighters first… and set their engagement range to 2000. This means that as soon as your bombers hit the feild they are gonna avoid anywhere fighters are… this extends their survivability drasticly. Using 2 torpedo launchers has always worked out best for me… with an engagement range of 600 or so. This allows your bombers to kill their targets quick and only a second of time in which they a in range of defence lasers.
setting your bombers to stay away from anywhere fighters are is the main point. Let them come in to play once all the stuff that would prioritize them over your other ships is dead.
This sounds workable, unless…
Your enemy has his or her fighters set to prioritize fighters, in which case the slow bombers are chased down and slaughtered.
You don’t mention using OTHER fighters at the same time, which can help, esp. if one can puzzle out where the enemy fighters will deploy. In that case, enemy fighters will target the closest of your fighters first. Then this strategem could work–if the map is large enough to allow for maneuvers that don’t drag the bombers near enemy fighters.
I can think of another wrinkle that might help, but I’ll try it out first. . .
PS I did use bombers to great effect once–a newish trend in challenges is to put a gazillion points on the smallest map. This was amusing for about two days, but as it basically breaks down to starting a fist fight at six inches, it gets dull quick. In one case I needed a trick to knock down shields fast, and deployed a bunch of bombers (fighters can “fill in” around other ships pretty well, handy in the confined deployment space of these micro-map challenges). They knocked down shields and destroyed things quickly and efficiently. Of course, the counter challenge was easy. . . .
You need more than 600 range since pulse laser is the air defense of choice.
Another problem is when enemy fighters are set on escort. So if you stay 2000 range from fighters, you are also staying 2000 + range from their cruisers.