Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The surface-to-air missiles encountered in San Andreas are mounted on pods. Each pod supports four missiles, and they use a radar-targeting system to fire heat-seeking missiles towards aircraft or helicopters. Four sites are located around Area 69 and two in the Easter Basin Naval Station on the LHD-069 aircraft carrier, both of which are no-fly zones, as mean of defense against aerial intrusions.
If the player flies any aircraft, or the Jetpack, near or over these zones, several heat-seeking missiles that track the movement of the player's vehicle will be launched, even when the remove wanted level cheat is enabled. The player can hear a warning sound and a small red blip on the radar when a missile has been launched. These missiles can severely damage the airplane's wings or engine (or the player, when using a jetpack), making it harder to fly. Depending on the durability and health of the player's vehicle, a few to some direct hits will destroy the vehicle and kill the player if they do not eject.
The launchers can be temporarily destroyed and will respawn once the player is far enough away from them. During the mission Black Project, the sites around Area 69 can be disabled temporarily from within the underground labs for the rest of the mission. Excluding the first part of the mission Vertical Bird, the SAM Sites on the aircraft carrier in Easter Basin are permanently disabled and will not shoot when the player flies over or near the Naval Station (this is probably a bug or intentional as the ship is docked, unlike those at Area 69, that function normally).
These sites can be destroyed by simply shooting, using explosive weapons or rockets and even melee attacks. When destroyed, they will explode but it won't harm the player.
Like other heat-seeking missiles, the SAMs can be deterred by using the Hydra's secondary fire, which launches flares.
Grand Theft Auto Online
|This article (or section) refers to content in the Enhanced version for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC release of Grand Theft Auto Online that may be absent from other versions.|
For a complete list of the features of the Enhanced version for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC version of Grand Theft Auto Online, please see here.
Surface-to-air Missile launchers return in Grand Theft Auto Online, in the Doomsday Heist update, S.A.M. sites are largely similar to the GTA San Andreas rendition, but they have a simplistic design. They behave the same way as before, detecting a nearby aircraft and shooting a homing missile.
S.A.M. launchers reappear in The Cayo Perico Heist update. They are located throughout the island of Cayo Perico, having been installed by Juan Strickler, in order to protect his compound. During The Cayo Perico Heist Finale, the player has the option to disable the island's main air defenses, allowing air support from hired crew members and the option to escape the island using an air vehicle. The compound's air defenses, being independent from the main ones, cannot be disabled.