It is worth noting that the fightercraft seen in DS9 were explicitly called "attack fighters", perhaps reflecting today's practice of equating attack with ground attack and even considering it the antithesis of fighter-to-fighter fighting. Moreover, when first used in DS9, two of these craft were deployed against a "soft" ground target. When used the second time, against Cardassian starships, they fared very badly, wave after wave of them achieving virtually nothing.
The TNG use of a single such craft as part of a greater fleet of comparable designs, in "Preemptive Strike", had slightly more success, but that may have been due to there being actual dedicated anti-ship craft in the mix.
It could very well be that this particular attack craft is intended to go against ground targets exclusively, serving as a poor man's starship of sorts where there is little or no opposition. Enjoying considerable independent propulsive capabilities (say, interstellar range, outrunning runabouts), they could be deployed from poorly equipped forward bases rather than from carriers - especially since Starfleet doesn't seem to have carriers in evidence, just assorted starships with fairly large shuttlebays (Galaxy
) capable of holding perhaps half a dozen.
Carrier deployment in the Dominion War would still appear likely. Even if the fighters can outrun runabouts, as per "The Maquis II", that only means about warp five or so; flying in formation with a starship fleet, they would significantly slow down the fleet. So perhaps these "CAP" formations seen whenever a fleet sets out at impulse are subsequently taken aboard starships for the warp jump and then quickly launched again at the destination.