|Vehicle class (GTA V)||Planes|
|Vehicle type||Military fighter aircraft|
|Body style||Multirole fighter|
|Appearance(s)||Grand Theft Auto V|
Grand Theft Auto Online
The forward fuselage and wings heavily resemble the equivalent sections of the F-16C Fighting Falcon, with an almost identical air intake to the aforementioned aircraft, albeit split into two separate intakes similar to a Eurofighter Typhoon. Its rear fuselage and twin stabilizers are very similar to the F-35 Lightning II. The aircraft also features a considerably subtle light grey camouflage painting.
In terms of armament, the P-996 is equipped with dual cannons in its nose firing explosive rounds, which are reminiscent of the F-20 Tigershark (the F-16 has only one cannon, mounted on the port side). Similar to its San Andreas predecessor, the Lazer also features automatic lock-on missiles, but lacks counter-measures.
Being a fighter jet, the P-996 is an extremely fast aircraft, with acceleration faster than any other vehicle in the game, possibly hinting towards this plane being meant for aircraft carrier usage. In addition to that, it has excellent maneuverability, and is extremely responsive and able to quickly pitch, yaw and roll in any direction. Add to that a short take-off and landing distance (capable of taking off in the space of the hangars at Fort Zancudo) and the P-996, in the hands of an experienced pilot, is the perfect aircraft for traveling around San Andreas quickly and efficiently without getting killed.
However, the P-996 can be lethal to the inexperienced. The fighter jet is extremely sensitive to minor inputs to the ailerons, and for a military aircraft, it is unusually fragile. The engine must be turned on or idling at minimum as the jet is very nose-heavy, and does not glide particularly well. It also "wobbles" in flight due to turbulence, and thus requires minute corrections to its flight.
By exiting the fighter jet mid-air, the player is ejected out of the cockpit, much like in real fighter jets. They will be flung upwards considerably, preventing them from hitting the fuselage, unless at low speeds. However, despite this, the seat won't launch off the plane, and the player won't automatically earn a parachute unless he has one already, or the mission Predator has been completed.
As mentioned before, the P-996 is equipped with dual explosive cannons and lock-on missiles. The cannons are extremely powerful and have a somewhat great range, being able to easily finish off an enemy with a single well-aimed burst. This is particularly useful in dogfights, giving a strong advantage to experienced pilots. The missiles are also useful, yet they can sometimes miss their target even when locked on, whereas the explosive cannons can be extremely useful as there is little guarantee players will miss their shot. However, the Lazer is still a relatively poor choice for Anti-Ground duties when using missiles. The Lazer is an extremely effective vehicle when using the cannons as they fire explosive rounds. The range is fairly limited but a skilled pilot can take down any vehicle or player with just one explosive round. A tank requires at least two passes. However you can destroy a tank in one pass with the landing gear deployed, as it dramatically slows the aircraft down. This isn't a recommended tactic as it requires you to come in at an angle where the tank can return fire. It is best to fly straight down to destroy tanks, due to the fact that the tanks turret cannot aim straight up. A skilled pilot would also use the same tactic to focus down on a single player that is returning fire on foot.
Incidentally, the P-996 does not have flares that are usable to the player, so any incoming missiles must be evaded. A good way is to flip the aircraft upside down and pull up. This puts the jet into a nosedive, and the missiles will not be able to turn fast enough to make contact.
How to Safely Steal One
There is an easy way to steal one without difficulty in the side mission Fair Game. Because of a glitch, after Cletus lets you go off and kill an elk on your own, the player can enter Fort Zancudo without getting a wanted level. From here, you can steal a jet and park it in your hangar in Sandy Shores Airfield. Then, head back and finish the mission as normal. The jet will remain in your hangar.
Outside of this, another relatively safe way to steal the Lazer is to parachute straight into Fort Zancudo from a high altitude, and into the hangar where the jet spawns. Beware, parachuting into the hangar is dangerous, as the parachute may clip the ceiling if you are not careful, dropping you on the ground and temporarily leaving you defenseless. Land as close to the cockpit opening of the jet as possible, jump in, and take off right out of the hangar (you may need to shoot the Titan that spawns in front of the hangar, as you may hit it otherwise).
- Multiple parked in Fort Zancudo (large hangar, two small hangars, outside some closed large hangars, next to the runway etc.)
- Sometimes on the runway in Fort Zancudo.
- Sometimes flying around Fort Zancudo.
- Sometimes taxiing around Fort Zancudo.
- One can be commonly encountered flying in Raton Canyon. Cannot be obtained.
- Found all across Fort Zancudo.
- The beta P-996 drew elements from the F-22 Raptor, F-35B Lightning II and the AV-8B Harrier II.
- Stealing a Lazer from Fort Zancudo requires 3-5 seconds, depending on the player's luck. The player needs to jump on top of the jet, see if the hatch is open, and usually, if it's locked, then the player has to kick it open. This makes stealing a Lazer difficult as the time required to open the jet will give nearby military patrol -and maybe even a Rhino- a chance to get to the player and intercept them before take-off.
- Often when stealing a Lazer from Fort Zancudo players will be shot down by other Lazers in the air. There are two ways to avoid being shot down: fly straight up - if the player doesn't look behind them, the tailing Lazers will eventually de-spawn; dodge the missiles - just before a missile hits, climb and then descend rapidly, the missile will climb after you, but when you descend again it will not change course fast enough, and should go right over the player's head). Players should also be mindful towards the multiple Rhino tanks patrolling the base, as they are very accurate and can destroy a Lazer in a single shot.
- If the player successfully steals this jet from Fort Zancudo and loses their wanted level, they must place it in a hangar as soon as possible, as the plane is likely to be shot up bad enough that the engines would be smoking. If it does, the player has a few minutes before the engine fails and the plane is essentially lost. (This can be avoided by Quick Saving and reloading the game; the plane will be completely repaired).
- The jet will save when placed in a player's hangar but will be lost completely upon switching hangar vehicles.
- In Online, A-I controlled Lazers can make use of the explosive cannon, so it is advised to take extreme caution when exiting Fort Zancudo in any aircraft, especially the P-996.
- Two P-996 Lazers intercept Trevor in the mission Minor Turbulence and eventually shoot down his hijacked Cargo Plane.
- The A.I. controlled Lazer has the ability to fire cannons in any direction regardless of where the nose of the plane is aimed. You could be above, behind, or to the side and it will use its cannons to waste you.
- As of the 1.02 patch, the P-996 Lazer, when using missiles, has a realistic lock-on target square on screen.
- The P- prefix of the plane is possibly a reference to the the older combat aircraft designation system of USAF where P- means "Pursuit", which was eventually replaced by today's F- for "Fighter".
- The Lazer requires a very minimal area to take-off. Take-off is possible within the space of 2 Lazers.
- Many GTA fans thought that the P-996 Lazer was the Fighter that got removed from GTA IV or the Hydra from GTA San Andreas, but it is in fact a separate aircraft.
- The explosive cannon rounds can make short work of any type of vehicle, but the major downside is that it has significantly low range, going as far as three Lazer lengths. The best technique to use the cannon is to approach the target fairly low, with the gear down (to reduce speed), then fire the cannon, dive quickly and spray the area in front/around the target, then quickly pull up.
- Lazers can sometimes be seen flying on patrol runs around Mount Chilliad. They are passive but will engage the player if attacked.
- If a blacklight is shined over Fort Zancudo on the Collectors Edition map of the game, it mentions the P-996 Lazer along with the Titan and the Buzzard.
- 996 is the in-game police codename for an explosion. Ironically, the vehicle's weapons are explosives.
- The Lazer still uses an RPG's rocket when selected, which is illogical, as the real rocket mounted on the wings are much larger and more detailed.
- The missiles on the P-996 appears to be modeled after the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
- In Righteous Slaughter 7, sometimes when the game loads, a beta P-996 Lazer can be seen, like the one in the trailer.
- The P-996's jet turbine has the ability to project any nearby NPC/Player away, and even killing them.
- There is a bug where if you steal a Lazer on GTA Online, its engine may randomly set on fire.
- After patch 1.16, players now have the option to choose between locked on mode for missiles or not.
- It is possible to take off the plane in backwards as seen in this video by going reverse fast, then tilting down the jet's nose making it doing a flip, and while airborne give it a thrust.