First of all, hello everyone. I purchased this game last week and have put in almost 11 hours each day since then. I've never had a game so deep, interesting, and seemingly infinite, and I really really love this game.
I started a 30 system spiral galaxy, vs 1 AI. I've played around alot in other games, and I felt comfortable enough to tackle a small map and win. It started well, but before I knew it the enemy had expanded immensely, as they do so well. All my systems were heavily defended and I decided to militarize before trying to push forward. The AI wasn't attacking much at all, so I prepared an assault on my neighbor system.
Like usual, the AI pretty much slaughtered me even though my ships were twice as large, but eventually I got him down to just the remaining planets. Each having around 50 defense stations orbiting, I knew I wasn't going to get far with my ships. I created a ship I call the "System Disruptor". It was size 200 with multiple repulsors and rack mounts. It was made to clear out a system for colonization. I moved a fleet of only 15 to a planet, and they just pushed all the stations right out of the planet's orbit, scattering them across the system, and into deep space. This was a key piece of the assault, because these defensive stations always have repair tools, and when there are so many with 100+ million health, you just can't take them out when they are close together, healing each other.
After repeating this to the other 3 planets, it was time to clear the system out for colonization. The stations were easy to destroy once they were all scattered and lonely. Bring in the chemical bombers, then colonize! I was extremely pleased with the results of my Disruptor, and it is very much a support ship. No other weapons, but somewhere around 8 repulsor beams. This ship was inspired by its predecessor- The Disabler, which was armed with attraction beams and lots of reverse inductors. A fleet of these disables a ship before it can do any damage, One of my favorites. I'll explain that one elsewhere
Hope this helps with the defensive AI! It does take some extra time to meticulously go clear each system, but damn it I'm gonna win this game!