From: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
it's been a while since I looked at the FC: Red Storm implementation, but this is what I remember:
- elevation indicates ground level
- elevation steps are significantly higher than buildings / trees; think 30-50m / 100-150ft per step, vs 10-15m / 30-50ft for objects (trees, houses) in the hex
- helicopters are modeled to fly above the objects in the hex, which is, if I remember correctly, a fixed height, regardless the type of objects in the hex for Red Storm
- forests reduce but do not completely block line-of-sight
- SAMs are fairly deadly against helis, even at long range
So, yes, the SAM could detect (RADAR) and target a heli. And, no, you're better off not changing the map.
We're working on the next game, FC: Southern Storm, to handle this situation with a bit more detail.
Specifically, we aim to have helicopters fly as low as the hex's contents allows, so lower for fields than for urban terrain. This so the helicopter can use the presence of taller objects in hexes between itself and the SAM system to mask itself.
More details to follow when are a bit further along with the game.
On Target Simulations LLC