Photo: Tailhook landing….in the desert. By a U.S. Air Force F-15

Yesterday the following image (actually uploaded by the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing on Feb. 27) was published by the Air Force Magazine.

The one depicted above is an F-15C Eagle belonging to the 18FW from Kadena, Okinawa, testing a new arresting barrier system for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra airbase, UAE, on Feb. 25, 2012.

The system consists of a cable stretched across the runway and hooked up to motorized retractors on either side. According to the caption, it was the certification test for a new system, which has to be replaced every 10 years.

Arresting Eagle

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Test flights aside, tailhook landings by land-based aircraft, like an F-15, are used in emergency situations to arrest a plane experiencing a failure that could imply a braking malfunction. Or for training purposes, as a Finnish Air Force F-18 did on the Arctic Circle some weeks ago.



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.