Yeah the later Raptors I feel have it worse than the Commander ones.
The BOP doesn't have as much advantages as the Fleeters make out, it could do with a small buff in the Hull HP at the very least to give it a bit more armour.
The problem we, as KDF supporters face, is that we're perceived (rightly or wrongly) as the 'bad guys' in a binary set (good guy-bad guy) alignment graph. As such, we will just about ALWAYS end up on the short end of the stick when it comes to new equipment or having our old gear upgraded. (never mind that the story missions bear out that the Klingons were on the correct side regarding the Undine infiltration, or the Iconian threat, etc. etc. and it was the FEDERATION that broke the treaty first, and refused to acknowledge said threat, thus forcing the war to happen.)
Cruisers were not included in the OP's original short-list, and regardless of how tanky they are, some of us don't like giving up all that manuever and speed to imitate a Fed captain in their giant armored slugmobiles.
Not saying there's no place for heavies, just that some of us out here don't have the patience to deal with a turn rate equal to or less than 12. No matter how good the armor, shields and power levels are, cruiser driving is (for some of us) an exercise in frustration.
Ha! then you've never flown a fleet Vorcha.. My Eng captain fields one with Fleet Dual plasma heavies cannons on the fore. The damage output and the tanking done by this ship is simply GLORIOUS. I've never had trouble keeping target on sight either. The only thing that I miss is the Battle Cloak, but meh, I havent built this one for alpha strikes.
There have been times, where I've beaten Fed Tac Capns on DPS output with this beast. In my humble opinion this is the most Klingony a ship can get. Tough, durable, agile and still packs a wallop!
Only problem now with the S7 shuttle/ship selection bug, my ship , the IKS Akula, is mis-named after my shuttle, the IKS Dungbeetle!! grrrrr
---------------------------------------------------------------------- We still live!!!!! Hahahahahahahahaa! We live and we will conquer!!!!! Hahahahahaaha!
-Roach, when asked about Klingon extinction!
But, being able to absorb some punishment and my choice to "bring the pain" to a fight as a Tac Captain made the Raptor my only choice.
I currently use the Mirror Qin and love making things go BOOM.
Sure it doesn't have the Universal Stations that would make you flexible, but for Elite STF's you'll be needing to use HY3 + Cannon Rapid/Volley3 anyway.
You'll be taking damage, too.
A Raptor will last longer.