Against my better sense of judgement, I decided to deactivate Discovery and try out Rebalance v3.55.
Oi, Colonel, you should try Rebalance out yourself too if you haven't already. I'm doing the singleplayer campaign now, and it's a whole new ball game from vanilla, especially if you want bonus ships. There's an option to choose whether you want singplayer bonus ships or not during mod activation. Setting it to yes will automatically change your ship when you agree to do certain singleplayer missions.
Be warned, though, that Rebalance is a maximalist mod, which means that there are a ton of new features and stuff. You might get lost looking at everything, since you can now change other stuff such as your engine, powerplant, scanner and tractor beam.
However, if you choose to leave it as no, there are very heavy fighters that you can purchase from Battleships Guardian, Missouri and Mississippi once you hit Level 6, which is just before you go rogue. These very heavy fighters can support up to Class 10 weapons. I'm still flying the Rage Bringer I purchased from the Guardian.
If you want to kill lots of stuff, try mounting all your ship gunpoints with Small Transport Turret Mk. III. These GMG turrets can serve as guns, and heave no level requirement as far as I know. They also do significant amounts of damage without ANY energy drain. However, equipping them makes your fighter look strange. Get them from Battleship Guardian. They are arguably the best weapons available at the start of the game.
Oh, and if you want to, install those cluster missiles. It'll make for an even more interesting challenge to you and whoever you're smoking.
v3.55 is a vastly updated version from v3.50. I've been playing it for the past few days now, and it hasn't crashed or jammed my computer, not even when the whole of Liberty and Rhienland were trying to kill me.