Static Anti-Air Defense
Surface to Air missiles
The SAM (Surface to Air Missile) site is the Soviets' anti-air defense structure.
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The SAM is the principal anti air weapon for the Soviets. It consists of a rotatable armored box which contains six ready to launch missiles.
It was replaced with the flak cannon in the RA universe due to the SAM sites missiles were not very strong at keeping the enemy Air Force at bay while in the Tiberium universe Nod continued to use it as their defense against the GDI air power.
In the single-player campaign, the SAM Site is the Soviets' only viable defense against air units, as the Rocket Soldier is available only in skirmish and multiplayer, and the Mammoth Tank's missiles are not effective against helicopters. Even so the SAM is nowhere as lethal as the Allies' AA gun, and you'll often need many of these in order to fight off Allied Longbow raids. Conversely as an Allied player, you can take advantage of this lack of lethality and use groups of Longbows to destroy SAMs and move on to whatever they're protecting.
Compared to the Allied AA gun, the SAM Site deals half the damage output and has slightly greater range. It is a bit more expensive, but also consumes much less power, and is not dependent on power to function.
It cannot harm ground-based units, or interfere with them in any way other than potentially distracting them from attacking a more valuable target (e.g. the Construction Yard).