It's that if you're bleeding through at 25% shield, your armor receives a greater proportion of damage, and so you spend more time at ~25% shields, and thus longer at peak recharge. Unless you're getting instagibbed, this works out to a marginal increase in the raw damage you can take if your armor absorbs some of the damage that would otherwise put you under peak recharge.
To answer the question of the thread:
- Rapid Firing and Rapid Launch
- Battlecruiser V (unlocks command ships but you should still get BC V even if you never intend to fly them), excellent bonuses to 4 great combat ships and 4 mediocre ones.
- Drone Interfacing
- Engineering, Electronics obviously
- Energy Systems Operation
- Recon Ships
- Shield Upgrades (helps fit LSEs on a lot of cruiser hulls)