Nothing to see here, just a highway being used as a runaway for jets now…
It seems like this is the first time in modern history that an American highway has been turned into a runaway for fighter jets. Recently, The Michigan Air National Guard transformed a stretch of M-32 roadway in Alpena County, Michigan into a working airbase where A-10 pilots practiced their take-offs and landings on the highway-turned-runaway. This is an official exercise known as Northern Strike and A-10 pilots from different parts of the country such as Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, Duke Field in Florida are participating in this exercise which has been open from 31st July and will run till 14th August.
As seen in the video, the first jet that takes off is from Michigan Air National Guard’s 107th ‘Red Devils’ Fighter Squadron. A number of U.S Air Force combat controllers can also be seen standing near the take-off location with a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle.
The A-10s aren’t the only aircrafts taking part in this exercise. A C-146 Wolfhound from the Minnesota Air National Guard was also spotted practicing its takeoff along the highway. The logic behind this exercise is to equip fighter pilots to take-off and land from unconventional air fields such as local civilian airports to different parts of a highway so they can go undetected by enemy forces and exchange in combat easily. This was quite common during the Cold War in Europe and was again revived in the late 2010s. U.S. Air Force Col. James Rossi told ABC12 that these exercises are, “believed to be the first time in history that modern Air Force aircraft have intentionally landed on a civilian roadway on U.S. soil.”
Other countries like Singapore and Taiwan also practice these exercises with United Kingdom, Latvia and Liberia to follow suit.