The ARC is a strange beast, that's for certain. With the proper mindset, it can be a mammoth force to be reckoned with, but it requires a lot of out of the box thinking. Let's begin by talking about what the ARC is not, because to use one effectively you have to handle it far differently than any other ship out there.
What the ARC is not suited for:
1on1 dogfighting- Trying to solo in the ARC isn't easy and while it can be done, its certainly not the best use.
PvP- further discussion in this thread and some thinking from ardent PvPers may prove me wrong, but I don't ever see this ship being a PvP force to be reckoned with, at least until the Cap Ship rumors pan out.
What the ARC is suited for:
PvE missions- note I said missions. There are some very specific reasons for that when we get into tactics later, but going out with a crew and hunting at a grinding spot probably won't work that well.
Gunboat Hunting- Accepted fact that a ship with turrets can make any gunboat look stupid. The ARC improves on this as it has two turrets and is far more agile than an MP ship.
The key to success in the ARC is to radically adjust what your job is as a pilot. Even though you have a gun, missile control, and are in an agile fighter, what you are really there for is to line things up for your gunners. It's a team effort, and when you learn to focus on your flying and let the gunners handle the shooting, you will be surprised ar your results. Flying solo is a mix between maneuver and aim. When you don't have to worry about aiming, that frees your mind to concentrate on maneuver and good tactial position. Think of yourself as a combination pilot/Ops officer, and you will do well. Good spatial awareness is key, you need to maximize the amoount of time both guns can shoot your target, and that requires the ability to fly backwards at times (see below under hints)
Loading the Ship:
There are two keys to a good ARC. An engine that will make you faster than any NPC out there, and 2 good guns for your turrets. In fact I'd even go so far as to remove the pilot gun to give added space for tailguns. Since the tactics I elaborate later dont allow for much defensive skimping, I think two L8 guns for the tail, possibly an 8 and a 10, are the sort of firepower you'd want.
The chase is on:
The basic theory behind my use of the ARC is getting the foe to chase you. This is why I recommended and engine that exceeds all NPCs, and why I recommend mission use over spawn hunting. Mission ships will keep after you, and spawns will eventually break for home, in most cases. To put it simply, once an NPC is chasing you, he's not looping, diving, or trying to get in firing position. This makes them essentially a sitting duck for your gunners. As a pilot, you need to perform the reverse of the gunboat trailing move. Exceed the speed of your pursuit until you're out of firing range na dhave clear space in front of you. Target the closest, and match speed, then bleed it off until you are about 500-550m ahead of them. Once you're practiced this will be fairly simple, but with the defensive measures I describe later, even if they're shooting you, it won't be too hazardous. Make sure you track which ships your gunners are hitting, and repeat the move to get the next one in range as each is destroyed. You can fly in a straight line, but I tend to recommend long flat circles, to keep you from running out of space.
Finally a Rebel droid program comes in handy! Your job as pilot, once you have the foes chasing you and in range, is to keep the ship flying. Using CtSS is recommended, but due to the nature of your tactics, I also recommend getting Rebel Shield Reinforcement Rear- Heavy or Extreme. This program can kick a reward shield up over 4k on the back, which is where 95% of your hits will come from. Couple this with a hefty sheet of plating on yout tail, and you end up with far better effective protection than normally.
Gunboats, Corvettes, etc
You will cry over how easy it become to take out your average gunboat in an ARC. The pilot maintains position underneath the ship, matching speed or feathering the throttle and twisting to account for turns. He is rolled on his side so that both guns have a clean shot at the gunboat. If the pilot has a gun, then the Corvettes can be just as easy. remove wpn5 on the initial pass, then let the gunners shoot at the trailing gunboats, or the shields, or whatever the target of choice is. Pilots can use missiles at will, and if you're a single ship, then taking the escort simple becomes a matter of leading them off, and shooting as they chase, just as I described above.
Things I haven't tried yet:
Even with an inexperienced crew, most of the things I described above should be pretty easy. So what else is there? I have had thoughts and ideas about ARCs and the new rash of Tier5 duties, as well as really tough missions like Lord Cssyc. If the Chasing technique works as well as my tests lead me to believe, then Those really tough missions just got easier, give it some thought.
The ARC is a specialty ship. It's a different sort of gunboat killer than a Bwing, and has the advantage of a useful method of taking out other fighters. It's a joy to fly with gunners, and once you get a bit of practice at it, I'm sure you'll see that too. Enjoy!