your AA Cruiser design?

I need some tips building AA cruisers. Care to share?

With Rebel, my best result so far is with a 2xtractor 5xpulse slow, highly armored cruiser with one nano-repair and one shield.
They do OK, but still get slaughtered by swarms of torpedo launchers.

My tactic is to avoid dedicated AA designs, but to make my whole fleet have distributed AA capabilities. In other words, my cruisers have 1 - 2 cruiser pulse lasers, or if they’re tribe I use 1 autocannon instead, and I have a rear line of frigates. This rear line consists of frigates with 1 AA/pulse weapon, 1 tractor beam, 1 point defense, and the rest being frigate smallbeam lasers; tracking is no issue when fighters get caught by the tractor beams. Rocket fighter swarms of 16 - 48 fighters have been staved off by this.

Do note that I’ve not tested it against challenges yet. (Very new strategy for me, this one.)

It just occurred to me that I don’t use an AA cruiser.

I try to make most of my fleets inhabit an area of frigate use where an opposing critical mass of (3.0+ speed) rocket fighters would be an outright waste. The rest of the fighters are easier to defend against - once they fall below 2.8 speeds you can hit them with a wider variety of stuff, making tractor beams a luxury rather than a necessity.

It does seem kinda dumb that some AA weapons can’t track rocket fighters, but a big clunky tractor beam can. Can’t we attach a laser to that?

I noticed that, but I like the ease with which my reserve-line frigates tear through the fighters. I use primarily 6 - 7 of these frigates to supplement my main force, and (despite the cost) they’re good for a wide range of uses. But, perhaps I don’t need tractor beams on them and could mount an AA-missile battery instead. Dunno, I was just fiddling with it over the past few days.

I typically go with a few tractor beams distributed among my ships, plus laser or pulse fighter escorts.

My AA Cruiser builds tend to be:
1-2 Tractor Beams
0-1 Defense Lasers
4-5 Pulse Lasers
1 Long Range weapon so it can contribute in the battle against the other capital ships.
12+ Armor to stop all fighter weapons except torpedos.

Usually one AA cruiser can handle 2.5-3 Fighter squadrons. They’re also very effective versus Frigates that wander within 600 range or less. The downside is they’re easy kills versus long range cruisers, so they need other cruisers to protect them.

The problem with lasers is that they need a very stable base to work off of. If it starts moving around, it misses alot of its chances to create the specific frequency of light its trying to achieve. Its one of the problems facing mounting lasers on planes today.
Prehaps the only ones that work are the relativly weak lasers that require less juice and parts, like the defence laser.

Also, tractor beam looks like it effects a much larger area that a laser. Big wide tractor beams can catch the fighters more easily.
As if we need explnation in gratuitous space battles. Its in the blurb that this isnt that sort of game.