Like most trucks, the Ripley's performance is defined by its average pickup, below average top speed, at 50 mph, and poor brakes, but it has a tight turning radius, due to its very short wheelbase. This truck can pack a powerful punch on cars, and can tip them over easily at relatively low speeds. Additionally, the Ripley's mid-to-rear-mounted engine configuration allows the vehicle to survive large numbers of head-on collisions; the openness of the cab, however, exposes the player to gunfire. Also, the large tires can easily be shot and blown out, making getaways from high-end police extremely difficult. The design of Ripley is believed to be based on the SCHOPF F300.
Seen only at Francis International Airport, the Ripley may appear as a pedestrian vehicle and will cause it to spawn the Airtug on the road, or is parked on the tarmac or car parks of the airport. Like certain vehicles operating in the vicinity of the airport, the Ripley bears the FlyUS livery.
The Ripley's name is an homage to lead character Ellen Ripley of the Alien films (played by Sigourney Weaver) — the US Colonial Marines M577 Armored Personnel Carrier from Aliens was built using a decommissioned Hunslet ATT77 airliner tug as a base.
Some Grand Theft Auto IV machinima creators recommend the Ripley for first-person driving views, as the interior of the cab lacks visual obstructions from a first-person perspective.
The Ripley shares the same handling traits and engine sound as the Brickade, another HVY vehicle. This is more than a little inaccurate, as aircraft towing tractors typically weigh as much as main battle tanks.
Driving the Ripley around the Francis International Airport will cause Banshees to spawn in the parking lots. They vary in color. However in The Ballad of Gay Tony driving the Ripley around the Francis International Airport will cause Washingtons and Faggios to spawn in the parking lots.
Unlike other vehicles in the game, the Ripley features solid door mirrors, which can be broken off with the doors still attached.
Unlike any other pushback tractor, the Ripley does not feature steerable rear axle.