The hard to swallow part is that the pets themselves with the proper doffs gives a defense bonus other than that the way they were nerfed their projectiles are the only damage that is worth using them since their energy damage was nerfed so much.
Their debuffs are still valuable, IMO. Aceton Beam is something I'd never load but coming from a Fer'Jai it's decent. Danube Tractor Beam, of course. And I think the orion interceptors are way more useful than they get credit for.
But yeah, pet DPS is negligible. Spike is nearly so as well outside of a properly herded BoP decloak alpha, maybe an odd fer'jai tric, or a scorp torp volley.
Am I completely misremembering or didn't captain skills boost pet damage at some point? Was that back in the day when you had to pick your energy weapon flavor?
I've been using this build for a very long time on the Armitage. With the Armitage its a nice combo, but you are hardly anywhere close to unhittable in PvE, you get hit very often because there are far more abilities that never miss than you think (check combat logs and you'll see a lot of 100% hit rates)
Like mentioned, shield drones don't work in recall mode, if you have fighters out and they get destroyed your recall status resets fairly often, so that is a downside. The only benefit would be to have cheap expendable fighters on recall sucking up BFaW or Torp spread targets for monsters like the queen in HOSE.
With it the Armitage becomes possibly the lowest damage escort there is, but has a lot of staying power. While most pets don't do a lot of damage, the elite scorpions pack a punch. It seems balanced to me. In PvP I could see the defense bonus as an issue, but loosing the lt. cmd tactical slot seriously harms your burst potential, you are also sacrificing the power of the Danubes.. which is significant in PvP.