Yeah, pulse beam research is very lame. Heck, pulse research in general is lame, since it only really affects Skirmishers. I mean, you aren't going to spam starbases. But, at least against the AI, Pinpoint Bombardment would allow for some fun hijinx. For example, Kostura Cannon + lvl 6 Marauder(for the return trip) + Destructors = insta-bombing anywhere in the solar system.
I also always micromanage capital ships when they bomb. Speaking of the Desolator, I've been using it in an AI game to test out some of the new pirate features. The boost to Phase Missile Swarm is nice. It makes it particularly nice against smaller swarms of LRMs, practically killing them with one or two volleys(at higher levels). Sending in a pack of Sentinels ensures that they all quickly fall after that. It seems pirate missions are done in increments of 3,000 now. I.e. 3,000 is the base and sends a 'Weak' raid, 6,000 is 'Moderate' and so on. This is nice since you have to make a serious investment into the mission, and not just send them on their way every few minutes if you're a TEC player.
As Pbhead said, the ship will move forward to use Deploy Siege Platform if it was left to auto-bomb a planet. I can confirm that it did this in the game I am currently playing. I'll be sure to test out Pinpoint Bombardment at some point too, and see how the skill interacts with that. IIRC that was a fix in an older patch, where before that the ship dumped them uselessly because it stayed at the edge of its own superior bombing range.