Combat in Terran is not a true subsystem rather a function common to most subsystems but for sake of discussion we treat it like its own subsystem. Many of the events you come across in Terran will involve combat be it one on one ship combat or full fleet actions. At times you are piloting your ship in support of your wing leader, flotilla leader or fleet leader or perhaps your the leader of an element. Combat isn't just a 2 sided affair between friends and enemies there may be several 'teams' on the field with varying loyalties. In summary combat can be as simple as 'spray and pray' but it can also be a highly complex large scale action in either case it is always real time and demands your attention at the low and high level simultaneously.
To give you a hand your ship is equipped with a number of AI systems which can be activated and deactivated by context that is to say you can take manual control over some or all of your ship; exactly what you have manual control over and what the AI is controlling depends on the context of the situation. In general when controlling your ship you will be in 'Tactical' mode; this mode gives you full manual control over your ships flight and targeting but also requires a lot of your attention making it harder to manage allies and keep an eye on the big picture. When necessary you can switch to a 'Strategic' mode which offers you a much wider view of the battlefield making the issuing of orders and planning of formation movements considerably easier though it does make tight maneuvering and targeting much more difficult and so your AI will take over these functions though it will take your direction. Finally there are a few situations where you need to focus on fire control or flight alone; similar to strategic mode the AI will take over other systems preventing you from running into things or being ran over by things while you carefully aim and fire each shot or role and bank your way through tight corridors.
Modes can be changed at any time and knowing what mode to be in and when is the key to a successful engagement. Ship fitting plays a role as always but AI will never replace the skilled Terran pilot in combat so you want to take manual control over the most critical aspects of the mission at any given time.
The most common mode you will likely use at least until you have a sizable fleet to manage. This mode presents a view of your assets from the 'orbital observer' a small drone which orbits your ship at a fixed distance this 3rd person or 'over the shoulder' view allows a high since of awareness for the goings on around you yet still allows for a high degree of manual control over firing. The ships yoke (steering) and throttle (movement) are under your direct control as is targeting however firing is 'grouped' that is to say the AI will fire weapons by grouping based on your target and fire selection much like an aim-assist. The AI prevents unwanted results by testing firing lines before discharge of the active weapon group which greatly cuts down on friendly fire.
Over your career you'll find that you spend and increasingly large portion of your time in this mode particularly if you command a large grouping of ships. The strategic mode sends the observer drone 7.5Km or more above your ship offering a wide but manageable view of the field. In this mode AI takes over most of the flight control needs of your ship as well as targeting though you can indicate the objective point for both weapons and movement as well as setting helper variables of the AI such as 'Follow Subject', 'Keep at Range' and so on. The AI will make evasive maneuvers as necessary to avoid streams of weapons fire or tumbling asteroids which ever the case may be and will resolve the optimal firing solution for indicated targets. A major advantage in terms of firing from this mode is the ability to establish multiple targets and allow the AI to manage firing on them; this is particularly useful when facing large groups of non-terran pilot ships such as drones or aliens. As the AI is handling your ship it also frees you to the management of your fleet, drones and other combat assets.
This mode while less frequently needed than the others offers the greatest control over firing and hands over virtually all flight control to the AI or alternatively gives the greatest control over flight handing most all control of firing to the AI. Useful in tight situations in particular when piloting the smaller faster corvettes through narrow spaces or in the case of long range weapon systems for those surgical strikes.