So I have seen AI bigger ships completely destroy escorts while being on the opposite side of the map and no fight had started. I doubt that is intended behavior.
Also in general AI throwing games like that, Nyds were winning me by a lot but suicided all remaining vessels on one of my drifting hulks... I had 3 escorts left at that point vs 3+ of their cruisers.
In general the AI is quite bad, both games were on max difficulty skirmish 1v1.