The Hydra is evidently a jet-powered military aircraft, bearing roundels of the United States Air Force on its wings, with armament containing 2 air-to-air missiles (evidently AIM-9X Sidewinders). The Hydra is suggestively based on the British Harrier fighter jet. This is further proven by the code that is used to spawn it in the PC version, "Jumpjet", which is a nickname for the Harrier Jets. The air intake is on the underside of the aircraft and resembles that of a Lockheed F-16. The GTA V Hydra seems to combine the nose, cockpit, and wingtip stations of the F-16 with the wings, tail, and fuselage of an F-35. Two variants of the Hydra have been spotted: one with side mounted intakes seen in the second trailer, and one with an underside intake seen in pre-release screenshots.
Features and performance
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 allows 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 outtakes 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). 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 300 km/h and one of the easiest to fly when the player learns the basics of fixed-wing flight.
The Hydra comes with various armaments, including lock-on or manual-aimed missiles, and flares as countermeasures for oncoming missiles fired by enemies, which redirects lock-on missiles shot from enemy Hydras or SAM sites (like those guarding Area 69) away from the player.
The Hydra is rated by many players as their favorite 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, well before they've become visible due to model/texture loading being slower than the plane itself. There is another drawback, since there's no passenger or co-pilot seat, it can only carry one person, which makes it unsuitable for non-one-man job.
- 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.
- 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).
- Like the Leviathan, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Hydra is featured in the second trailer and screen shots. The new Hydra in GTA V is based off of the F-16C/D, with the fuselage and tailfins of an F-35A/B/C and has FFAR Rocket Pods and possibly AIM-120 AMRAAM Lock-on missiles, there is no conformation of IR flares and or Afterburner being in the game.
GTA San Andreas
- Easter Basin Naval Station: Available on the aircraft carrier after completing , the player instantly gains a 5-star wanted level upon entry of the base, it doesn't always spawn
- Verdant Meadows: In the hangar furthest away from the Abandoned AC Tower after the mission Vertical Bird
- Ganton: At Sweet's house after attaining 100% completion
- Area 69: Two spawn by a tank garage after Vertical Bird (dangerous to obtain, even if you use the 'lock wanted level' cheat code at zero stars; SAM Sites are still dangerous!).
- 2 NPC Hydras pursue the player when in the air; although it's extremely difficult as the wreck is likely to disappear and you are likely to get Busted, you can attain 6-star wanted level, shoot down one of them with a Rustler or Hunter, theoretically even a Seasparrow, 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 your hangar.
- The Hydra can be attained with the cheat code "jumpjet" for PC. For other consoles, see Cheats in GTA San Andreas.
Grand Theft Auto V
- 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.)