Oh I am not saying one faction should offer everything, but each faction has two niches per category that they fill, and it seems odd that they, frankly, don’t.
Just to use my example again, because I happen to like Empire… Empire seem to be primarily about Gunships in their fighter lineup, so I think the progression should be something like…
Rank 1 - Hercules [Gunship].
Rank 3 - Hercules 2 [Gunship].
Rank 2/3 - Hercules Arrow [Command].
Rank 4 - Deimos [Gunship]
Rank 6 - Deimos 2 [Gunship]
Rank 5/6 - Phobos [Command].
You can apply similar things to other vehicle classes and factions; most Jericho Fighters would likely be Command with the Tackler being the “odd” Fighter, whilst Federation get primarily Tackler Fighters with the “odd” ship being a Gunship.
Actually… now this is how I would do it, and how it would apply across every tier:
Empire Fighter = Gunship.
Federation Fighter = Tackler.
Jericho Fighter = Command.
Empire Fighter = Better Command.
Federation Fighter = Better Gunship.
Jericho Fighter = Better Tackler.
Empire Fighter = Best Gunship.
Federation Fighter = Best Tackler.
Jericho Fighter = Best Command.
So, if you’re flying, say, Tier 3, here’s how it would pan out:
If you want a Gunship as quickly and cheaply as possible, you fly the Empire. They have the cheapest, easiest to acquire Gunship in every tier, and so you can get the ship you want quickly.
If you want the best Gunship in your Tier, you also fly Empire; their end-game Fighter is the best Gunship you’ll find in your weight class, but it takes the longest to acquire and is the most expensive.
If you want something in between, you have to fly Federation. Their Gunship is better than the entry level Empire one, but not as good as the endgame model. However, the primary appeal of a Fed Gunship is likely that it works quite differently to its Empire counterparts, so it is a very different beast to them.
Applying that across all tiers would, in my opinion, be the way to go.