Video of an F/A-18 Hornet taking off from a public road

Finnish Hornets take off from roads as part of the training.

The following video of Finnish Air Force F-18s departing from a public road was filmed during Ex. Warkaus 2011 at on Highway 5 in Joroinen Finland. Such kind of training, has been part of the standard training conducted mainly in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe since the Cold War.

With the dissolvement of the Warsaw Pact, highway take-offs and landings have become less frequent. However, the threat of Russian bombers violating the airspace of Baltic countries requiring QRA intervention is still alive.

North Korean Migs and Belarusian ones conduct highway operations every now and then.


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About David Cenciotti 4453 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.


  1. Finland during the Cold War has integrated larger and reinforced strips called “maantietukikohta” in its national network of highways with adjacent parking/servicing space and lighting.

    They noticeable as the road expands into wider and multilane and the area is left free of obstacles. Mobile logistics to support air operations are also organised in case of these redeployments Low population density and dense forests good for camouflage help in making this an efficient possibility as opposed to other western countries.

    This “road airports” serve as a way to disperse the fighter jets to be less vulnerable to conventional and nuclear attacks and so still able to support an eventual “sissi”, or guerrilla warfare, of which the Finnish became famous in WW2 for repelling both the Soviet invasion from east and the german one from northern Norway.

  2. Look at the areas where major wars or terrorist actions are happening right now. The ones with blatant air power as a factor.

    How many of them have more than one airfield capable of fielding fighter aircraft? How many have airfields that are over the horizon from lightly defended borders, or otherwise difficult to spot?

    I acknowledge that I’m not a pilot, but Afghanistan isn’t known for it’s numerous high-quality airfields.

    Using a freeway/highway as an impromptu airstrip? Smart forward thinking for any first-world military. I wonder how many of these miniature airbases we would find in the USA if we actively looked for them during our vacation road trips.

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