So unbalanced matchmaking continues.
I'm not going to speculate on what is causing me to show up in Veteran matches with my Recruit fleet. It's annoying and I feel bad for my teammates. I'm not going to quit playing (usually will grab my little Orcus Tac Cruiser and try to keep others in the battle). But I will offer up a possible solution.
Do away with the Recruit, Veteran, and Legendary fleets. Hear me out...
What if all players had access to a fleet of 15 VERY BASIC ships that came with the game. Think of these as the Generic Brand Fleet (as opposed to the name-brand manufacturers). One ship in each category and for each ship a Tier 1, Tier 3, and Tier 5 variation (I'll get to why odd numbers in a second). The names would be very plain: Destroyer Mark 3, Tactical Cruiser Grade 1, etc...
When a match starts, all players have a resource pool. The starting pool is enough to buy ANY ship in their fleet but Tier 5 consumes all resources. Tier 1 would always be available (costs 0 resources). Intermediate levels priced accordingly. Resources build up slowly in a match (and can be affected by kills, ribbons, etc...)
The name-brand ships are better than the generic ones (although not by a huge margin), mainly because their weapons and modules can be upgraded and adjusted (like we are doing now with the tech tree). Generic ships can not be upgraded nor modified. Name brand ships can also exist at the even number Tiers (2, 4, and 6-- yes, this one goes up to 6...) Name brand ships could also cost slightly less resources as the match is in sessions (a Tier 3 name-brand costs less resources than a Tier 3 Generic). Name-brand ships would also earn more experience.
A player that is killed early won't have enough resources to jump right back into a Tier 5+ ship and will almost certainly need to grab a Tier 1 or 2 ship. There would even be tactical advantages to take a low Tier ship first to guarantee a high Tier ship in the late game. Mid-Tier ships would also have a role. If done well, this should encourage players to develop a versatile fleet.
AND when you hit a resource level and want to move up a Tier, you don't have to kamikaze. Just jump into hyperspace, grab that ship, and respawn. Maybe you could even have a choice: respawn at the same location or at the team spawn point. (Only works for moving UP a tier. You can't avoid death by moving down.)
The main point, is for all players to have a fair shake and those who have earned upgraded ships will always be able to use them (but not spam them). Experience counts for a lot and earns you more choices, upgrades, and just cooler ships. There are still good reasons to upgrade lower Tier ships. This also mitigates the rather low player count. It won't matter so much if there are not enough Veteran players for an all Veteran match. We wouldn't need the Recruit, Veteran, and Legendary levels. Matchmaking would be based on your Rank and the value of name-brand ships in your fleet.
All the best.