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A Hydra in GTA Online.
(Rear quarter view)
Vehicle class
Vehicle type Military fixed-wing aircraft
Body style VTOL fighter jet
Capacity 1 (pilot)
Appearance(s) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto V [Beta]
Grand Theft Auto Online [DLC]
Manufacturer Mammoth (HD Universe)
Price $3,000,000 (Online)
Related vehicle(s) Besra
P-996 Lazer

"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."
―Description on the Warstock Cache & Carry website.

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


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. This 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. 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.


Decals on the hydra in San Andreas.


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 put the Hydra in a safe situation entirely, as sometimes the missile may head towards the jet again after deviating for a few seconds. Shots fired from a Rocket Launcher cannot be deviated at all.
  • Missiles: 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. These missiles however are less powerful than the unguided missiles (requiring three missiles to destroy a car instead of a single rocket for the unguided missiles). When fired towards an aircraft, it will be much faster, and is likely to reach its target.

Grand Theft Auto V

The Hydra was originally going to be in Grand Theft Auto V, but it was replaced by the P-996 LAZER for unknown reasons. It was briefly seen flying over the city at the end of the first GTA V trailer, and was later shown in more detail shooting down a Police Maverick in the second trailer. It was distinguishable from the P-996 due to its shorter, vented fuselage and black-painted nose. In fact, the two are similar in design, though the P-996 has a shorter fuselage, underside intakes and side mounted guns.

Grand Theft Auto Online

The Hydra is included in the Heists Update, similar to how other beta vehicles returned in DLCs. Like the 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, specifically, the F-35B version. The B variant is utilized by the US Marines and is the STOVL (Short-take off and Vertical Landing) version. The Hydra's air intakes resemble those of the French Dassault Rafale, with details, such as the side air holes and the four rotatable exhaust thrusters, from the AV-8B itself. In fact, the entire VSTOL system of the Hydra is still based on the AV-8B Harrier II, such as the two front exhaust thrusters still using the "scarf" thrusters, rather than the F-35B's Lift Fan System + 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.


The Hydra re-uses the weapons of the P-996 Lazer. It features two cannons mounted below the aircraft, that fires explosive rounds. Missiles are also usable with, like other armed vehicles, the possibility to switch between lock-on missiles and non-lock-on missiles.

It is more versatile than the P-996 Lazer, being more effective to attack targets on the ground thanks to its VTOL abilities, making it somewhat comparable to a helicopter. However this also increases its vulnerability in this state.


Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

The Hydra is the most sophisticated aircraft in the GTA series, boasting a variety of equipment. One of its more prominent abilities is its VTOL (Vertical Take Off 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, with a fixed top speed of 200 kph, 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 southern most point in Los Santos to Northern most 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 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 GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas,Vigilante side-missions cannot be started or performed using the Hydra.

Grand Theft Auto Online

Similar to the San Andreas rendition, the Hydra is able to switch between a vertical takeoff/landing mode and an horizontal one. When in horizontal flying mode, the Hydra has a top speed even higher than the P-996 Lazer, being able to reach very high speeds in a short amount of time, having an excellent maneuverability, and being extremely responsive and able to quickly pitch, yaw and roll in any direction. Add to that a short take-off and landing distance which make the use of the VTOL mode optional on roads. The Hydra, however, is heavier than the Lazer, and as such, is slightly less maneuverable.

When in VTOL mode, the Hydra is surprisingly much more maneuverable than its previous rendition; the Hydra is easily controllable in this mode, and makes using the vehicle's weaponry much easier. However, caution should be taken when switching to the VTOL mode, as unlike San Andreas, it may take a while before the Hydra flies vertically; as such, the player should not try to land it immediately, doing so will usually cause the aircraft to crash. Also, 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 heat-seeking missiles. Another advice is when switching to Jet mode, the Hydra will fall a bit before it takes flight, therefore it is not suitable to change to Jet mode very close to the ground or buildings. If the Hydra plummets to the ground with retracted landing gears, there's an opportunity to change to VTOL mode if the player react quickly before it results in an imminent crash.

Overall, the Hydra can be considered as a VTOL counterpart to the Lazer. Despite being a bit heavier, the VTOL features make the Hydra a very deadly aircraft with its weaponry, which is partially balanced by not only its price, but also by the fact that the vehicle is not available outright to players Online.


GTA San Andreas

GTA Online


GTA San Andreas

  • There is a glitch that occasionally occurs with the flares; at times they do not deploy. You would then have to rely on the Hydra's evasiveness in order to avoid incoming missiles (hint: if you are flying at a high enough altitude, you can roll your Hydra upside down, then pull up. You will almost certainly evade the missile. If it is too high to dive, then use the rudder and turn at the same time.)
  • If you go to the Mount Chiliad (where a Mountain Bike appears) with the Hydra, if you start to lock-on over it and fire the missiles, oddly the Hydra receives damage until it explodes like if you are being attacked. This is due to the fact that bicycles aren't meant to explode and it will glitch the damage values, like a "bouncing" damage that affects the Hydra. (PS2 Confirmed)
  • If the landing gear is on while the Hydra is in air, then no flames will come out of the thrusters.(PC confirmed)


GTA San Andreas


GTA Online



  • 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 and Kraken.
  • 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.

GTA San Andreas

  • Once the player attains a 4 star wanted level or higher and is in the air, 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.
  • 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

    Like all other planes in the game, the Hydra will cease to accelerate once it reaches 300 km/h. However, several trainers (such as the SCM hook) can disable the cessation.
  • The NPC Hydras chasing CJ in a dogfight are actually piloted by police officers from the city/region that they spawned from.
  • If the player enters the Hydra with the landing gears retracted, upon entering the plane, the Hydra will explode.

Grand Theft Auto Online

  • The Hydra cut before the release can be seen in the in-game TV Cunning Stunt Academy, with various features, such a black narrow nose, Harrier-like landing gears (which is oddly short) and 2 thrusters in a side (like a Harrier) and a rear main turbine (like the Lazer).
  • The Hydra is described by the Heist Planner 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 is developed in the 1960s and introduced into the United States in the 1970s. This could mean that it is based on the 1st 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.
  • In the Heist Setup mission "Hydra", 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 electro-magnetic 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.
  • At $3,000,000, the Hydra is the most expensive vehicle and purchasable item in GTA Online.
  • The badging H-27 can be seen on the Hydra's rear wing.
  • The end description by Warstock Cache & Carry of the Hydra, "The billionaire action movie enthusiast's toy of choice" is a reference to the movie True Lies and Arnold Schwarzenegger's character Harry Tasker, who pilots an AV-8B Harrier II to rescue his daughter from a group of nuclear armed terrorists.


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