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 while the Mammoth Tank possesses missiles which are capable of attacking aircraft, they are severely limited in their effectiveness in this role due to their short range. Even so, the SAM Site 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 but 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).
It was replaced with the flak cannon in the timeline leading to the events of Red Alert 2 which is similar to the allied AA gun. In the timeline leading to the Tiberium universe, Nod continued to use a modernized version of them.
- Effective against aircraft.
- Cheap (only costs $750).
- Slightly more range than the Allies's AA gun.
- Low power consumption compared to an AA gun.
- Defenseless against ground units.
- Deals less damage to aircraft than an AA gun.
- More expensive than an AA gun.
- Shuts down with insufficient power, leaving the base defenseless.