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"These British jets have been decommissioned for twenty years, but who cares when you've got vertical take-off capabilities and rockets up the wazoo. The billionaire action movie enthusiast's toy of choice."
Warstock Cache & Carry description.

The Hydra is a military VTOL fighter jet featured in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto Online as part of the Heists Update. It is the first military jet available in the Grand Theft Auto series. It is manufactured by Mammoth in the HD Universe.

Design

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The Hydra is a jet-powered military aircraft, bearing roundels of the United States Air Force on its wings. It is suggestively based on the British Aerospace Harrier II (formerly known as the Hawker Siddley Harrier) a well-known British fighter jet with Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities, with minor detailing from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, such as the cockpit and air intake. The Harrier's influence is further proven by the cheat code that is used to spawn the jet in the PC version: "Jumpjet", which is a nickname for Harrier jets. It also seems to feature some detailing from the, namely with the The Hydra features the Harrier's VTOL system, as well as its weaponry, including missiles and countermeasures. The built-in machine gun of the Harrier, however, does not appear; instead, the machine gun is featured on another vehicle, the Hunter.

Grand Theft Auto Online

The Hydra is included in GTA Online as part of the Heists Update. Like the GTA: San Andreas rendition, the jet is based largely on the British Aerospace Harrier II; however the nose, vertical fins and horizontal stabilizers resemble those of the F-35 Lightning II. The B variant is utilized by the US Marines and is the STOVL (Short-take off and Vertical Landing) / VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) version. The Hydra's cockpit resembles the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, especially the integrated control panel below the HUD, which is directly taken from that of the F-16. The Hydra's air intakes are from the AV-8B, as well as the side air holes and the four rotatable exhaust nozzles. In fact, the entire VTOL system of the Hydra is still based on the AV-8B Harrier II, rather than the F-35B's Lift Fan System, two steering nozzles and rotatable "Lobster Back" exhaust for its main engine. The jet retains its Vertical Takeoff and Landing capabilities, allowing it to be flown in a hover mode akin to a helicopter, or flown as a plane. These modes can be changed by pressing right on the D-pad. The Hydra in GTA Online is utilized by the United States Navy.

Current Design Gallery


Version History Gallery

Performance

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

The Hydra is the most sophisticated aircraft in the game, boasting a variety of equipment. One of its more prominent abilities is its VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) capabilities, which allow it to hover, descend or ascend vertically like a helicopter, and travel horizontally like an airplane; these abilities are achieved by directing thrust from four jet outlets downwards or backward using specific directional controls (by pushing the right analog stick forward / back, or, on a PC, by holding down 2/8 on the number pad or Ins/Del, by default. Or, with the iOS version, snaps automatically forward at a moderate speed). Due to its excellent engine and maneuverability, the Hydra is the fastest and fail-deadly aircraft (and one of the fastest vehicles) in GTA San Andreas, and one of the easiest to fly when the player learns the basics of fixed-wing flight. It is probably the fastest aircraft in GTA: San Andreas, being able to travel from the southernmost point in Los Santos to Northernmost point of Las Venturas in around 60 seconds (1 in-game hour). However, similar aircraft like the Rustler and the Stuntplane, are more agile. It is very complicated, one mistake can send it plummeting towards the ground.

The Hydra is generally the most preferred aircraft for its speed, agility, and weapons which make it an excellent choice for nearly any purpose requiring an airplane. Its chief disadvantage comes not from the vehicle itself, but the game engine. High-speed flight can allow the plane to hit objects, such as trees, before they've become visible due to model/texture loading being slower than the plane itself (this process is also nick-named 'pop-in'). Another drawback is that there is no passenger or co-pilot seat, restricting it to only carry one person, making it unsuitable for several-man transport.

Unlike the Hunter in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Vigilante side-missions cannot be started or performed using the Hydra.

Combat

The Hydra is well-known for being one of the best performing in-game vehicles when it comes to combat, being on par with the Hunter. The Hydra comes with three sets of weapons:

  • Countermeasures: When used, the Hydra will drop a white flare that has the ability to deviate incoming heat-seeking missiles from enemy Hydras at high wanted levels, and the surface-to-air missiles of Area 69. It should be noted however that the flares will not guarantee to deviate all incoming missiles, as dropping a flare too early or too late may render it ineffective, and missiles may not be fully deviated, meaning a second flare will be required.
  • Rockets: When used, the Hydra will fire one unguided rocket per side. Despite being unguided, if correctly aimed (deadly when used with the downward thrusts), it will make short work of vehicles, blowing them up on contact (except for the Rhino). The missiles, if they do not hit anything, will travel a relatively long distance before blowing up.
  • Heat-seeking missiles: This alternative fire mode of the missiles is identical to the handheld Heat-Seeking Rocket Launcher. The Hydra can lock onto vehicles, and once it is done, any fired missile will be heat-seeking and will head towards the target. Heat-seeking missiles deal roughly a third of the standard missiles's damage, although with the advantage of being much more accurate. Like the Heat-Seeking Rocket Launcher, firing a rocket towards an aircraft will result in a much faster missile.

GTA San Andreas Overview


Aircraft Statistics - 3D Universe
Take-Off Speed
(0-60 knots in Seconds)
Top Speed
(mph / kmh / knots)
Engine Type Engine Location Mass
(kg / lbs)
Handling.dat
N/A 124 / 200 / 108 Petrol N/A 9000 / 19842
Observed
N/A N/A Single turbofan/ turbojet engine w/ 4 vectoring nozzles Mid-Rear Cannot be observed

Grand Theft Auto Online

Airspeed and Handling

Similar to the GTA: San Andreas rendition, the Hydra is able to switch between vertical and horizontal flight. When in horizontal flying mode, the Hydra has the highest top speed in the game, around 160 knots while under 900 MSL, and approximately 210 knots while higher that 900 MSL. However, the Hydra is relatively heavy thus has slightly lower acceleration than the Lazer, and when performing a vertical climb, the Hydra will start to lose speed and eventually stall out, unlike the P-996 Lazer which will continue to gain attitude. The Hydra has acceptable maneuverability, being able to quickly pitch, yaw and roll in any direction, however due to the Hydra's extra weight, it is one of the least maneuverable fighters, only beating the V-65 Molotok in a tight circle.

VTOL Mode

When in VTOL mode, the Hydra is surprisingly less maneuverable than its previous rendition; the Hydra is easily controllable in this mode, but has difficulty pitching downwards to engage targets, and has trouble correcting its momentum. It has a tendency to continue moving in the direction it was traveling if switched into VTOL mode, and also takes a while to ascend and descend in the same mode. The VTOL capabilities make using the vehicle's weaponry much easier, but it is a double edged sword; it is not as maneuverable as a helicopter and responds to inputs differently. It is difficult to slow down from flight mode into hover mode and the throttle must be constantly modulated, otherwise the engine will cut out if the Hydra is close to the ground. If slowed down to the point that the main engine shuts off, switching to VTOL mode and accelerating will not start the engine, preventing any thrust coming through the nozzles, and the plane will plummet to the ground. One should be careful when using the Hydra in VTOL mode to attack targets, since it also makes the Hydra much more vulnerable to direct fire and leaving very little chance of dodging RPG's and locked-on Homing Missiles. Also, when switching to flight mode, the Hydra may lose a small amount of altitude before it takes flight, therefore it is not suitable to change to Jet mode mid-air while very close to the ground or near buildings. If the Hydra plummets to the ground with retracted landing gears, there's an opportunity to change to VTOL mode if the player reacts quickly before it results in an imminent crash. This problem is negated if the Hydra is flying forward while it transforms to flight mode. It also suffers from the Lazer's tendency to wobble in flight due to turbulence, as well as its unresponsive controls if the afterburner is not engaged.

The Hydra's VTOL capabilities make it able to land basically anywhere on the map as long as there is enough space available for the aircraft to safely land. The pilot of a Hydra can also land and takeoff just like a normal plane if the controlling player wishes to do so.

Overall, the Hydra can be considered as a VTOL counterpart to the Lazer. Its finicky performance in VTOL mode is realistic; VTOL aircraft are not like helicopters and, while able to, are not designed to operate in hover mode, only for takeoff and landings. Despite being a little heavier, the VTOL features make the Hydra a very deadly aircraft with its weaponry (if players take the time to learn its unique quirks), which is partially balanced by not only its price, but also by the fact that the vehicle is not available outright to players in GTA Online. However, as of the Cunning Stunts: Special Vehicle Circuit update (enhanced version only), the Hydra can be purchased outright, albeit at an even greater price.

Combat

The Hydra has very similar weapons to the P-996 Lazer, but with a faster max airspeed, making it a very capable combat vehicle. In combat against players, the Hydra can easily evade homing missiles by flying a tight circle or by simply flying faster than the missiles can catch up to. Against NPC enemies, the Hydra's VTOL flight mode can be used to great effect. Just like all pre-Smuggler's Run planes, the Hydra can only withstand two homing missiles before being destroyed. It can also only withstand ten rounds from the Heavy Sniper, or 2-3 hits from a Heavy Sniper Mk II equipped with explosive rounds.

With the introducing of newer, more specialized aircraft since the release of the Smuggler's Run update, the Hydra's lack of countermeasures proves to be a significant risk, as ground vehicles with significantly more reliable, faster, longer-range or more accurate missile attachments (such as the Oppressor, Deluxo, or Chernobog) can easily target a Hydra and take it down, putting the pilot in an extremely difficult position, given the accuracy of these missiles make them difficult to avoid, especially in open-space areas. Also, many aircraft introduced in the Smuggler's Run update also have a lead against the Hydra in both speed and maneuverability; even the Seabreeze is a surprisingly maneuverable plane, being better at turning a tighter circle than the Hydra, and the Pyro takes the lead with the fastest acceleration and superior maneuverability. Despite these disadvantages in agility, the Hydra more than makes up for it in sheer firepower. Most of the Smuggler's Run aircraft cannot withstand much fire from the Hydra's powerful cannon.

Weaponry

  • Explosive Cannon: The Hydra has two cannons mounted below the aircraft, that fires explosive rounds. The cannon is identical to that of the Lazer, having the same range of about 600 feet. The cannons are mounted on the underside of the jet unlike the Lazer's, whose cannons sit on either side of the cockpit. Just like the Lazer, the cannons of the Hydra are extremely powerful, firing explosive rounds that can kill players and destroy unarmored vehicles with a single shot. With the VTOL capabilities of the Hydra, one can keep sustained fire on a target very easily, at the cost of maneuverability.
  • Missiles: The Hydra can also fire lock-on missiles and non-lock-on rockets. Unlike the Lazer, the Hydra's missiles only have a lifespan of about five seconds (compared to the ten second lifetime of the Lazer's missiles). This results in the rockets having less range and less flight time before the rocket self destructs. The Hydra's missiles have a short "reload" time, where if two missiles are fired in quick succession, the pilot cannot fire another one until after a short four second cooldown. These missiles have normal explosive damage and travel speed, but sub par tracking.

GTA Online Overview


Aircraft Statistics - Grand Theft Auto V
Take-Off Speed
(0-60 knots in Seconds)
Top Speed
(mph / kmh / knots)
Vertical Climb/ Descent Rate
(ft/min)
Engine Type Engine Location Mass
(kg / lbs)
Fuel Tank
Size (litres)
Handling.meta
N/A 6 / 10 / 5 N/A N/A N/A 8000 / 17637 65
Website Statements [?]
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Observed / First-Person Airspeed Indicator (Enhanced version)
N/A 155 / 250 / 135 (Landing gear down)
201 / 324 / 175 (Landing gear up)
N/A Single turbojet engine w/ 4 vectoring nozzles & rear turbine (w/ afterburner) Middle/Rear Cannot be observed Cannot be observed
Rockstar Games Social Club
Hydra-GTAO-RSCStats
Speed
99.5%
Acceleration
45%
Braking
54.108315%
Agility
45.177032%


Weapon Statistics - Grand Theft Auto V
Damage
(per shot) [?]
Fire Rate [?] Range
(m / ft)
Ammo Specifications/
Capacity
Reload Mechanism Reload Speed [?]
Weapons.meta
15 (24)

22.5
30

0.04 180 / 591 750 N/A N/A
In-game Statements / Markings
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Observed
N/A ~ 1,500 RPM Cannot be determined 2 machine guns (unlimited ammo) N/A N/A
Rockstar Games Social Club [?]
ImageGallery-Placeholder
Damage
30%
Fire Rate/Speed
98%
Accuracy
10%
Range
65%
Clip Size
100%


Weapon Statistics - Grand Theft Auto V
Damage
(per shot) [?]
Fire Rate [?] Range
(m / ft)
Ammo Specifications/
Capacity
Reload Mechanism Reload Speed [?]
Weapons.meta
0 (Base damage) 2 300 1 (20) N/A 2
In-game Statements / Markings
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Observed
Explosive ~ 30 RPM Cannot be determined 6 missile racks w/ 6 missiles (unlimited ammo) N/A N/A
Rockstar Games Social Club [?]
ImageGallery-Placeholder
Damage
0%
Fire Rate/Speed
0%
Accuracy
10%
Range
100%
Clip Size
1%

Modifications

Grand Theft Auto Online

In the enhanced version, the Hydra can be transferred from a Pegasus vehicle into a Personal Aircraft by entering the player's personal Hangar. Inside, it can be resprayed in the Aircraft Workshop. The Hydra's metal bodywork will become less visible to allow the player to respray it any custom color. Only a Primary Color option is available which affects the entire body, albeit the nose and wing armaments will only be slightly tinted.

Image Gallery

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto Online

Locations

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

  • Easter Basin Naval Station: Available on the aircraft carrier after completing Vertical Bird, the player instantly gains a 5-star wanted level upon entry of the base, then stealing will cause the player to be chased down by enemy Hydras.
  • May be seen in the sky in San Fierro during stormy weather on Mondays.
  • Verdant Meadows: In the hangar furthest away from the Abandoned AC Tower after the mission Vertical Bird.
  • Ganton: On Sweet's House rooftop after attaining 100% completion.
  • Area 69: Two spawn by a tank garage after Vertical Bird (dangerous to obtain, as Surface to Air Missiles will shoot at the player unless destroyed beforehand).
  • Two enemy Hydras pursue the player when in the air after reaching a 4-star wanted level; although it's extremely difficult as the wreck is likely to disappear, one can attain 6-star wanted level, shoot down one of them with a Rustler or Hunter, theoretically even a Sea Sparrow, as close as possible to Verdant Meadows (this is the easy part), land and bail out next to the wreck, jack a nearby Rhino and use it to push the wreck into the hangar.
  • The Hydra can be obtained with the cheat code "jumpjet" for PC. For other consoles, see Cheats in GTA San Andreas.
  • Very rarely seen inside LSPD headquarters garage, entering the headquarters immediately attracts a 3-star wanted level and 5 star level upon entering the Hydra.

Grand Theft Auto Online

Prominent Appearances in Missions

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto Online

Heists
Freemode Events

Trivia

General

  • The Hydra is named after a Greek mythological beast, a 9 headed serpent-like creature that lived in Lake Lerna on the Pelopennese Island in Greece. Other vehicles named after mythological creatures include the LeviathanPhoenixBanshee, DaemonKraken, Titan, Chimera and Valkyrie.
  • Both of its introductory missions are very similar. They both involve the player stealing the VTOL from an aircraft carrier after a shootout with military personnel, only to use it for another ultimate purpose.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

  • Once the player attains a 4 star wanted level or higher and is in an aircraft or in a Vortex, two Hydras will pursue and try to shoot down the player. The enemy Hydras should be no match, as they have a penchant for flying in lazy circles and not deploying flares, and as a result they will easily crash into buildings when flying in cities.
  • The Hydras that spawn on 4-6 stars does not have a pedestrian piloting them, like any other aircraft that appear in the sky.
    DMAHydra

    The lettering on the rear fuselage.

  • Part of the text on the side of the aircraft features the letters "DMA"; this is likely a reference to Rockstar North, since the company was formerly known as DMA Design. DMA is also a play on United States Marine Corps squadrons that use the AV-8B Harrier II (VMA).
  • The Hydra has a U.S. Air Force logo on its left wing, but on the right wing, it does not.
  • The Hydra has a handling similar to that of a helicopter if the thrusters are not faced backwards.
  • An alternative model of the aircraft can be seen on one of Zero's hobby shop kits, sporting a V-tail and a more Harrier-esque look.
    Hydra model kit

    The Hydra model kit box seen in Zero's shop

  • If the player enters the Hydra with the landing gears retracted, upon entering the plane, the Hydra will explode.
  • The flare has the same texture/model as the Tear Gas.
  • For unknown reasons, if the player tries to take off when by traffic, the AI cars will enter "panic mode" and drive away. However, if the player sits by the road or in front of a car, they will drive as normal. *Similarly for unknown reasons, if the player lands the Hydra (or any other helicopter/aircraft) in the city, pedestrians will scream in terror. It is unknown why they are screaming since they don't do this in other GTA games when the player lands an aircraft in the city.

Grand Theft Auto Online

  • It is classed as a Medium-sized vehicle when stored in a hangar.
  • From an aeronautical standpoint, the Hydra's dual rotating nozzle/fixed engine afterburner design in GTA Online makes little sense. Having Harrier-style thrust nozzles on the fuselage coupled with an F-16 style jet engine in the rear would increase fuel consumption and weight (as both the nozzles and afterburner are supplying rearward thrust in flight mode, and the jet engine will still supply rearward thrust when the fuselage nozzles are pointed down in hover mode, making landings difficult) and require the afterburner to constantly shut off and on as the aircraft transitions from hover mode to flight mode.
  • The Hydra incorrectly fired homing and non-homing rockets. The Ill-Gotten Gains Update fixed this, so it now fires homing and non homing missiles.
  • Unlike the Lazer, the Hydra does not seem to possess any airbrakes as none are shown deploying when the aircraft slows down in flight mode.
  • The Hydra is described by Agent 14 to be a piece of 40-years old technology, yet it is fairly comparable to the Lazer in design and performance. This may simply be a misstatement on his part, or because the real world jumpjet system was developed in the 1960s and introduced into the United States in the 1970s. This could mean that it is based on the first generation McDonnell Douglas AV-8A Harrier, which in itself is based on the Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1/GR3; this is further evidenced by the fact that the Warstock Cache & Carry description states that it was retired 20 years ago. The RAF retired this model in 1994, by which point it had been retired by the U.S. Marines after the construction of AV-8B Harrier II in the 1980s. The later BAE Harrier II was retired in 2011, whilst the U.S. Marine versions are still in service. It is most likely similar in performance to the Lazer for gameplay balance. The Hydra in game is likely a modernized variant, as it features a cockpit comparable to the Lazer, including a side mounted control stick.
  • In the Heist Setup mission Humane Raid - EMP, the Hydra has the EMP device placed where the radar would be. This could be a developer's oversight or possibly a reference to the infamous "blue circle" radar system developed by the British in the 1970s - 1980s. Although it could be a tongue-in-cheek joke since any radar system emits electromagnetic radiation.
  • The Hydra can burnout like a car when in VTOL mode on asphalt with its landing gear deployed, by holding brake and yawing to one side.
  • The end description by Warstock Cache & Carry of the Hydra, "The billionaire action movie enthusiast's toy of choice" is a reference to James Cameron and his 1994 movie True Lies, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, Harry Tasker, pilots an AV-8B Harrier II to rescue his daughter from a group of nuclear armed terrorists.
  • If the player stores their Hydra inside their personal Hangar (enhanced version only), the livery will be removed upon attempting to change the colour, allowing the player to apply a different paintjob to the vehicle. This also applies to the Titan and P-996 LAZER.

Bugs/Glitches

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

  • There is a glitch that occasionally occurs with the flares; at times they do not deploy. The player would then have to rely on the Hydra's evasiveness in order to avoid incoming missiles (if flying at a high enough altitude, roll the Hydra upside down, then pull up - this will likely divert the missile. If it is too high to dive, then use the rudder and turn at the same time.)
  • If the player locks-on to a bicycle and fires missiles at it, the Hydra receives damage until it explodes as if the player is being attacked. This is due to the fact that bicycles are not meant to receive damage and/or explode, causing a glitch that, somehow, damages the player-controlled vehicle. This can be done easily at Mount Chiliad, as it is a fixed spawn for a Mountain Bike.
  • If the landing gear is on while the Hydra is in air, then no flames will come out of the thrusters.[citation/verification needed]

Grand Theft Auto Online

  • In the enhanced version, the Hydra's attitude altimeter rotates in the opposite direction, so much so that the land (brown) on the dial is 90 degrees to the actual horizon.
  • After the Smuggler's Run update, the Hydra's thrusters lacked power when switching between flight and VTOL mode to perform a quick land, causing the jet to quickly descend when engaging VTOL mode and thus crashing.

See Also

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