Actually, the tractor-kidnapping is emergent behaviour in tractor-using ships (Etherjets too for instance). Chris himself didn't code the AI to do that, it simply does, given the circumstances. Or rather, of course he did code it to do that, but not explicitly tell Etherjets/tractors to behave like that. The AI simply felt that works best.
So no, it's not aware it's a Raid engine that it needs to activate, but the kidnapping is "deliberate" behaviour, as far as I can remember from the discussion in the "This AI is awesome" thread.