get your pilot license

RAF Typhoon Jet Operates From Finnish Road Strip For The First Time Ever

Typhoon road landing
A RAF Typhoon about to land on a Finnish road strip. (Image credit: Finnish Air Force)

A British Typhoon has carried out the first ever landing on a Finnish road strip.

On Sept. 20, 2023, a RAF Typhoon landed on a Finnish road as part of a demonstration that the RAF has planned to validate the ability of its frontline assets to operate from dispersed locations, including highways in the Nordic countries.

The first landing of a British Typhoon on a Finnish road took place near Tervo, in the province of Eastern Finland, during Baana23 dispersed operations exercise.

The aircraft involved in the road operations is a Typhoon assigned to RAF 41 Sqn, that operates as the Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) for the RAF’s Typhoon, based at RAF Coningsby, UK.

Such kind of training was part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe during the Cold War, when the risk of a Soviet attack on NATO air bases would make them unavailable in a matter of hours. With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings remained more or less a standard practice in Finland and Sweden but became less frequent in the rest of Europe and the rest of the world. By the way, as we have reported in the past years, North Korean MiGs and Belarusian jets conduct highway operations every now and then.

With the war in Ukraine and the increasing tensions with Russia, many air forces are dusting off the capability, including the Polish Air Force, that has just launched the domestic ROUTE 604 exercise, and the Royal Air Force, that has deployed the Typhoon to Finland, to leverage the existing infrastructure and procedures the Finnish Air Force has in place and routinely put to test with the F/A-18 Hornets.

According to Aviation Week, there’s also a plan for staging the same kind of operations with the F-35B, although in this case the drills will take place in the UK. With its STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) capabilities, the F-35B can more easily operate from short road segments. “The RAF plans to lay down aluminum AM-2 mats along a strip of road up to 1,500 ft. long, allowing the F-35B to perform short takeoffs and vertical landings without damaging the underlying road” AW’s Steve Trieble reported.

By the way, the Italian Air Force has also been practicing F-35B operations from austere runways with a special focus on expeditionary scenarios.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

get your pilot license
Optimized by Optimole