It is bordered by the Zancudo River towards the south as well as Route 1 on the west with the Los Santos Highway passing underneath via tunnel. There is also a memorial that can be found by the Fort Zancudo Approach Road.
The base mainly serves as a base of operations, airbase and munitions depot for the United States Air Force. The United States Marine Corps are also stationed at the base, as suggested by the base's belligerents often heard yelling "Semper Fi motherfucker!" and "I'm a fucking Marine!" during combat, as well as "Here's a hello from the United States Marine Corps" during idle conversation.
According to the patches worn by many units, there are also U.S. Army personnel stationed here which means Fort Zancudo serves multiple branches of the American forces. It's possible that the Army elements in the base were attached to the 135th Airborne Division, as Brincat was part of this unit. Both the Marines and Soldiers wear uniforms resembling that of the Army Combat Uniform, which was standard issue in the U.S. Army. However, the Marines' wear a tan vest resembling the Modular Tactical Vest just like their real-life counterparts.
Naturally Fort Zancudo is heavily guarded whose perimeter is lined with high, anti-scale fencing stretched along the perimeter of the base and the only two entry points are guarded checkpoints, where they inspect incoming personnel that arrive.
The grounds are often patrolled by Rhino tanks, Barracks trucks or Crusaders. The local airspace is also controlled by P-996 LAZER fighter jets which have clearence to shoot down any aircraft not authorised to pass through. Often airborne Cargobobs can be seen flying over the base.
Fort Zancudo features one main airstrip, secondary airstrip, three large hangars, several smaller hangars, a munitions depot, rows of blockhouses for the base's inhabitants, a fire and rescue station, Refinery, Air Traffic Control tower, main office, and depots for the many vehicles on-site. Outside of the fence are several water storage tanks and machinery, possibly to provide the inhabitants of the fort with their own sanitised water, in the event of an emergency.
Fort Zancudo's fleet composed mainly of standard issue military vehicles including the Rhino, Cargobob, Buzzard, P-996 LAZER, and the Titan. However, on the Warstock Cache & Carry website, there are pictures of a Patriot-based ATV and a Hunter in one of the two Fort Zancudo runways.
The soldiers stationed at Fort Zancudo are rarely seen outside of the base. However, on some occasions, a large convoy consisting of Barracks and Canis Crusaders can be seen driving along Route 1 in the west or Route 68 in the south, likely delivering supplies.
Grand Theft Auto V
During the fourth Rampage, two soldiers can be seen just outside the base's southern approach. They are presumably replacing a deflated tire of their Crusader before Trevor Philips confronts them. Mocking him for a Canadian, Trevor grabs a Grenade Launcher from the nearby Barracks and loses it. During the rampage, two Rhinos are dispatched in a bid to kill Trevor but only to result in their destruction.
Grand Theft Auto Online
Like the Story, Fort Zancudo is still restricted to players and the usual consequences apply to trespassers.
As of the GTA Online: Smuggler's Run update, three hangars were put up for sale for the player to start an airfreighting business, along with Ron. This also allows for low-level access to any owner as long as they do not cause any trouble.
Like Area 69, unauthorized entry over Fort Zancudo airspace is strictly forbidden. Fort Zancudo Air Traffic Control will issue warnings to the player via radio. If the player flies over and departs the area or fires a weapon at the area but does not hit anyone, a 2-star wanted level will be attained.
Should the player choose to continue flying over the base after the warnings, a 4-star wanted level will be attained, accompanied by P-996 LAZERs firing heat-seeking missiles. They will still warn the player if they are flying a P-996 LAZER over the base. If the player is flying low enough over the base, there will be no warning, but a wanted level will be gained if the player is spotted by someone on the ground. Alternatively, flying at high altitude may not cause the player to be warned, resulting in no wanted level.
If the player gets too close to one of the two checkpoint entrances to Fort Zancudo, the soldier on-station will warn them, if one still hangs around if they ignore the second warning then the guard will open fire and a wanted level will be issued.
If the player enters the base by ground undetected, a 4-star wanted level will be obtained shortly after being spotted by personnel. This will sound the alarm and mobilize anyone on site, whether in a vehicle or not. Even if the player acquires a military vehicle (e.g., a Rhino) and try to enter the base, they will treat it as stolen property and will open fire still.
If the player is on the ground, they can either drive straight through the checkpoint or go over the perimeter fence using one of the natural jumps.
In GTA Online, before the Smuggler's Run update, checkpoint gates never opened and the only way to get in by ground was to jump the fence. Now the player will still get a four-star wanted level even if they enter through a checkpoint, unless they also own a Fort Zancudo hangar.
The Mount Josiah path can be noticed by its dirt road which is less steep than the rest of the mountain. The player will usually land near the bleachers of the training grounds, although there is a chance of either landing in the large trench or on the road if the player is not fast enough. Following the release of the Import/Export update, this has been made significantly easier, as should the player own a Ruiner 2000 or Rocket Voltic, they can use the parachutes or rocket boost to ensure they make it over the fence and into the base.
Once inside Fort Zancudo, the player must act quickly and head for the runway area. If they are too slow or too reckless, they may be caught out by a patrolling Rhino Tank. Unlike previous games, the ones manned by NPCs will use their cannons on unsuspecting players. During freemode, the Rhinos are far more accurate than in missions so care must be taken around them.
The following are heared from either ATC or stationed guards.
- When flying over the base, ATC issues one of the following:
- "This is restricted airspace. Divert your course or you will be shot down!"
- "You have entered Fort Zancudo Airspace. Divert immediately!"
- "This is the U.S. Army airspace. Divert or we will take you down."
- "This is a no fly zone. Divert your course."
- "You are in the Fort Zancudo no fly zone! Divert, or you will be shot down!"
- "You are flying in restricted airspace. Turn around immediately!"
- When approaching one of the checkpoints, the guard on station will yell the following:
- "Sir, leave the area now! This is for authorized personnel only!"
- "I'm not going to say this again. Leave now!" (if the player doesn't move away)
- When flying over the base, when the player owns one of the three hangars, ATC issues one of the following:
- "Your clearence has been approved, make your way to the hangar.""
- When approaching one of the checkpoints, when the player owns a hangar, a radio issues a message:
- "They own one of the hangars, let them through."
Fort Zancudo closely resembles real-life Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Lago Zancudo's marshy environment suggests that Fort Zancudo is also based on that of real-life Naval Base Ventura County, Mugu Lagoon. Fort Zancudo has many similarities with real life Area 51.
- Barracks - Can be found parked in several parking lots and also chasing the player once inside the base.
- Barracks Semi - Found at the same locations as the Barracks.
- Besra - Can be found in several hangars and areas of Fort Zancudo (PS4/XB1/PC only)
- Buzzard - Found parked in several areas north to the runway.
- Cargobob - Found flying around, and also sometimes on the helipads east to the runway, ready to take off.
- Crusader - Found at the same locations as the Barracks.
- Fire Truck - Found at the fire station.
- P-996 LAZER - Can be found flying around, and in several hangars and areas of Fort Zancudo.
- Rhino - Will chase the player upon entering the base and patrolling the main area.
- Titan - Can be found parked north to the runway, in front of the hangars. Sometimes one will be on the runway and will take off, mostly at evening and midnight.
Prominent Appearances in Missions
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto Online
- Base Invaders
- American Exports
- Docks to Stock
- Docks to Stock II
- Top Fun
- Flight School
- Stunt - Double Loop
- Stunt - Plummet
- Arms Embargo
- Resupply Steal Missions - may be selected at random for the location of supplies, including:
- Rhino Tank - located in the eastern-most open hangar.
- Ballistic Equipment - 2-player mission only. Appears in the hangar immediately on the left when entering from the northern entrance. Then requires a second player to acquire a Flatbed truck from the Base parking lot.
- Zancudo is Spanish for a malarial mosquito.
- Prior to update 1.28, Fort Zancudo and Los Santos International Airport were the only two areas unavailable for use in the Content Creator.
- Inside the control tower, the computer screens show a map of the United States which slightly differs from the maps downstairs in the Training Center, especially on the West Coast. The rest of North America is absent.
- Strangely, the in game map on the pause menu does not show the layout of Fort Zancudo at all, instead it is just an empty space on the map. In GTA Online, however, the base layout will appear on the map when the player is inside the base or within its vicinity. The same occurs with the Bolingbroke Penitentiary.
- Around 7:00–7:10 AM, patriotic music can be heard over the bases loudspeakers, possibly as a morning announcement. The music is "Reveille", a popular military wake-up call.
- The design of the roundels (stars) painted on the hangars are similar to be that of the defunct United States Army Air Forces. This variation of the roundel was only used from 1941 to 1947; leaving the implication that the base has been active for roughly 70 years.
- The large inaccessible hanger near the west entrance is now open after the release of the Heist Update, although there are no vehicles that spawn in it.
- When Air Traffic Control say "This is the U.S. Army airspace. Divert or we will take you down.", the subtitles will say "This is the U.S. Army airspace. Divert or face the consequences." instead (PS3 and PC version tested).
- This has been fixed on the enhanced version of the game.
- The P-996 LAZER's description on Warstock Cache & Carry states and references the tactic used by players who stole one from Fort Zancudo for the first time.
- Its possible beta name, according to the police scanner audio, was "Kazanski Air Force Base".
- In GTA Online, if the player owns a Hangar in the base and attempts to enter the airspace with a stolen Titan or Cargobob, they will still receive a 2-star wanted level. This is because the game gives those with access to Fort Zancudo a 2-star wanted level for stealing military vehicles, and the Titan and Cargobob are both considered military vehicles.