Norwegian F-35A Jets Carry Out Type’s First Highway Landing On Finnish Road Strip


F-35A highway
RNoAF F-35A about to touch down on the road strip in Finland (Image credit: Finnish Air Force)

The day after a RAF Typhoon carried out the first ever landing on a road strip in Finland, RNoAF (Royal Norwegian Air Force) F-35A aircraft have operated out of Tervo road base too.

Two F-35As of the RNoAF have operated out of a road strip in Finland for the first time on Sept. 21, 2023. The two Lightning II aircraft landed on a road near Tervo, in the province of Eastern Finland, as part of the Baana23 dispersed operations exercise that yesterday saw a RAF Typhoon carry out the first ever landing of a British Eurofighter at a Finnish road base.

“This is a milestone, not only for the Norwegian Air Force, but also for the Nordic countries and for NATO,” Major General Rolf Folland, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, said. “This demonstrates our ability to  execute a concept of dispersal. Fighter jets are vulnerable on the ground, so by being able to use small airfields – and now motorways –  increase our survivability in war. In addition, this is also a demonstration of the exciting development we have initiated within the military-air cooperation in the Nordic region. The aim of the concept is to make it more challenging for an enemy to take out our aircraft when on ground. If such a concept is to work we must map out all possibilities, and practice them.”

The two Lightning II stealth jets landed at Tervo around 15:00 LT at the end of a joint mission with the Finnish F-18s. Immediately after landing, the two 5th generation aircraft were refueled with the engines running (hotpit refueling) and took off for another mission.


A milestone for the F-35

The landing on the Finnish motorway by the RNoAF F-35As marked the first time a CTOL (Conventional Take Off and Landing) variant of the Lightning II was carried out highway operations.

Interestingly, the Norwegian F-35s were equipped with the distinguishing special fairing on the upper rear fuselage between the vertical tail, that houses the aircraft’s drag chute. Although the photos released by the RNoAF and Finnish Air Force show that the F-35s didn’t make use of it, for operations in the Arctic environment, A models can be equipped with a drag chute that can be used to rapidly decelerate after landing on icy runways under windy conditions. Currently, only Norwegian F-35s are equipped with the drag chute pod. According to the official website, the pod “distinguishes Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and Belgian F-35As from other F-35s,” although the system is at the moment used only by the RNoAF jets.

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.


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