Part 31: Republican small craft technology
I always figured in a game like this, passing up the other options in a field doesn't mean those things don't exist or weren't developed, they just didn't pan out to be useful. Say we don't get Fighter Bays, does that mean our black navy doesn't use fighters? Unlikely. They just don't make much difference in a battle.
Well, in this case, our small craft are basically limited to lighters and the like, used for personnel and supply transfers to and from ships. Actual void combat fighters aren't deployed because we have no designs that even pretend to be combat-effective.