A good and fairly realistic (if we have VL camera, we may as well have IR) way to indicate maneuvers would be having ships spray out of their thrusters fast (IIRC exhaust velocity is somewhere in the code already) and short-living exhaust trail.
Particle based, "soft" looking (blurry and almost transparent).
Afterburners (separate for each type) may leave different exhaust color (i.e. discernible temperature/ionization grade).
It would also allow to make missiles more discernible (http://forums.vega-strike.org/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=18579#p133164) - especially if they have different type of jets.