One of the big problems with AotR, that makes it a little inaccessible is that there doesn't appear to be much documentation on what stuff actually does. It may exist in the original German version, i'm not sure, but there's not much for English. I'm less familiar with the specific tech requirements of the Rebels and Empire, but I did sorta figure out how the basic gameplay loops seem to work, which I think would apply regardless of faction.
The main thing I would suggest is go hunting for their shipyards and tech centers, since the AI doesn't seem to rebuild them once they're done. Most of your military power seems to also come from your station+heroes as well, especially as a function of power to credit value. One of the big effects of ships being expensive and taking a long time to build is that bomber swarms become a lot more powerful, especially for the Black Sun and Rebels, because they're relatively low-risk, high reward, and a lot of the strategy is having to play through hero spawn timers. Because the shipyards don't tend to get replaced, and ships are super expensive, the AI will typically rely on fleets of heroes, plus a bunch of small frigates, Carrack/Assault Frigate size and under. Playing as the Black Sun, I don't believe I fought a single non-garrison capital ship that wasn't a hero besides one or two Allegiance classes at the start, and Rebel fleets were fairly similar. Lots of maurauders and small Corellian stuff.
Ultimately, what ended up being effective for me was grouping a fleet around a defensive station, using the fleet+ the station to kill off their hero fleet, and then you'd have that hero respawn cycle to expand almost unopposed and fortify before the heroes come back. Once you have a fleet superior to their hero fleet, they can't stop you. For the Rebel AI, this is a Home One-centric fleet, for the Empire, it's the Executor, Arc Hammer, Needa and Brandei. The result can be fairly challenging, especially when unfamiliar with the systems, but overall, if you're looking to customize fleets and use them when it still matters as opposed to trying to navigate around your stations and hero spawns, it may not be for you.