I'm working on a simple space combat game (single-player) with the goal of having 100+ fighters and capital ships in a single battle. To keep system requirements down I'm using a minimum of effects. One that I do wish to include, however, is that of 'ion trails' from the rocket engines of the spacecraft and missiles. Ideally it would look something like the images below. The trail won't have to be very long, but I do want it to curve to show the spaceship's path, acting as a visual aid in a dogfight.
My question is, how to implementing such trails efficiently?