Fort Zancudo is a United States Military base located north of the Swamp, near Mount Josiah. It closely resembles the real-life Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Not only is Fort Zancudo the only known military base in Grand Theft Auto V, it is the only military base that is not a secret or hidden in the HD Universe of Grand Theft Auto games. It was rumored that a Jetpack is located inside the base however the jetpack is only available within GTA Online either through a mission in a hidden secret military base or by purchasing it.
Fort Zancudo is neighbored by Mount Josiah to the northeast and bordered by the Zancudo River towards the south, as well as the Great Ocean Highway on the west. The base serves as a military-operated airfield and munitions depot for the United States Air Force. Interestingly enough, there also seems to be Marines in the base, as the base's occupants will often yell Semper Fi! or I'm a fucking Marine! when in combat, the former of which is the Marine Corps motto. The base is heavily guarded and protected, with high, anti-scale fencing stretched along the perimeter. The two access roads that join the base to the outside world are controlled by checkpoints. Armed guards sprawl within the base, with frequent patrols in either Rhinos or Crusaders. The airspace as well is patrolled by P-996 LAZERs and Cargobobs. The fort features one main airstrip, one secondary airstrip (about the size of a ski jump runway,) one large hangar, a few smaller hangars, a munitions depot, a fire and rescue station, a refinery, an air traffic control tower, the main office, and some barracks. Fort Zancudo holds military vehicles such as the Rhino Tank, Cargobob, Buzzard Attack Chopper, P-996 LAZER, and the Titan.
Like Area 69, Fort Zancudo is a restricted air base. If the player flies over the area, the player will receive a 2-star wanted level and an air traffic controller will warn the player via radio to immediately divert course and leave the airspace, giving warnings such as: This is a no-fly zone. Divert your course or you will be shot down or You have entered Fort Zancudo Air Space. Divert immediately.
If the player chooses to ignore the prompt warnings and continues flying over or very close to the base, the player will gain an automatic 4-star wanted level and lock-on missiles will be shot, with a chance of hitting the player down, regardless of position, about 10 seconds after the warning is given.
Should the player enter the base on the ground, a 4-star wanted level will be received and the base alarm siren will go off. Armed soldiers, Rhinos, and aerial patrols will shoot on sight, even if the player is driving a military vehicle.
Mount Chiliad Mystery
Ever since the discovery of the strange mural on the top of Mount Chiliad, which brought about the Mount Chiliad Mystery, many people believe that the fort holds a Jetpack, which is kept top secret. Like the restricted and heavily guarded Area 69 in GTA San Andreas, which also held a Jetpack. Players believed the top secret vehicle would be within the fort, possibly underground in a subterranean bunker like Area 69 had. There is a freight elevator semi-concealed in a building between the open hangar and the closed hangar. A red strobe marks the doorway at night. It is still unknown how to operate this elevator, as it seems to behave in the same way as the traffic-control tower elevator. The floor number above the elevator doors reads "-1," which strongly indicates a subterranean layer to the base. Due to the strong military presence, it is very hard to investigate the fort as the player will be immediately engaged upon by law enforcement when entering the base. However, there is a glitch to get in the military base with no stars.
However the jetpack has since been discovered to be obtained during a mission inside a secret base within Mount Chiliad itself in GTA Online. The mural and the mystery seem to refer to the that mission, another GTA Online mission with an alien egg, and the fact that upon reaching conditions given by the clues of the Mount Chiliad mystery a UFO will appear before the player atop Mount Chiliad.
- Ironically, if the player steals a military vehicle from the base, the police will give chase instead of the military, due to the Posse Comitatus Act.
- Zancudo is Spanish for a malarial mosquito.
- Using a vehicle from the Super class or any motorcycle will sometimes allow the player to pass through the front checkpoint unnoticed, depending on which direction the guard is facing. Once passed, an entrance to a trench that surrounds the entire base can be found immediately to the right. Navigating the trench will not trigger a wanted level. It is recommended that the player quick saves at this point. Throughout the trench are several exits, with one behind the landing strip where two P-996 Lazers spawn. Once the player exits the trench, they can move throughout the base unnoticed for about ten seconds before the alarm is triggered. This gives the player a significant head start if they intend to hijack a military vehicle, as the authorities' response times are delayed. It should be noted that if helicopters spawn, the player will be noticed and the trench will be rendered useless.
- Alternatively, the player can drive down the dirt path beside the freeway (north of the base) and use the hill side as a ramp to enter the base, and then drive to a trench entrance. This is especially useful online since the front checkpoints are gated.
- It is possible to enter the Air Traffic Control tower of Fort Zancudo. It has several rooms including a non-functioning elevator. At the top of the tower, there is a room, where the Minigun will spawn on the floor every 30 to 90 seconds, and in the uppermost level of the tower, a health pack will spawn. There are two guards at the very top of the tower armed with Pump Shotguns or Carbine Rifles.
- According to news reports on the radio, the military is planning to expand the fort by constructing a drone base. This could explain the short runway.
- Unlike Area 69, Fort Zancudo does not have any SAMs on the ground to take out player-controlled aircraft. Instead, the P-966 will spawn behind the player and fire a Heat Seeking Rocket. If the player continues to look backwards using the "look backwards" function, the response aircraft may be delayed in spawn.
- If the player is trying to steal a vehicle inside Fort Zancudo, they should take massive caution as there are up to 4 Rhino tanks doing patrol in and around the base.
- During the second hunting mission Fair Game given by Cletus, one can easily run from the hunting grounds and towards the Fort, being able to explore all of it without there being any hostile soldiers.
- The soldiers of Fort Zancudo have the same unit insignia as the 1st Cavalry Division. This would explain the Army presence and the availability of heavy Main Battle Tanks.
- If a player is flying really high or flying dangerously near the ground above Fort Zancudo, the air traffic controller won't detect them and warn them to leave.
- Strangely, when the player flies over Los Santos International Airport, the air traffic controller will warn the player to divert the area, but will sometimes warn the player that they will be shot down, even though there are no lock-on missiles around to shoot the player down.
- Inside the control tower, an entire map of the United States and the world is revealed, showing drastic differences in geography compared to real life such as a shorter Baja California peninsula, and a larger California-based state on the west coast. It should also be noted that a map of the entire globe also depicts this version of the United States in the Herr Kutz barbershop.
- During around 7:00 - 7:10 AM, patriotic music can be heard over the bases loudspeakers, possibly as a morning announcement.
- Fort Zancudo is one of the few locations that players cannot use in Editor. However, while in character mode in Editor, one can freely explore the base.