If you complain about traffic jams on your way to work, you better think twice. In the town of Tervo, Finland, residents sometimes have to share a road with fighter jets…
Well, this isn’t something that happens all the time. In fact, it is Exercise Baana, which the Finnish Air Force carries out annually on a 3 km stretch of road 551 that connects Tervo to Kuopio.
The reason is to train the emergency operation of fighters on remote stretches of roads with a minimum of support, which is called Agile Combat Employment.
To allow safe landings and take-offs, the road was widened from 7 to 20 meters, in addition to a tree-free lane being opened in the middle of the forest.
At each end of the 3km stretch there is also a large paved area for vehicles and support equipment.
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This type of operation has been carried out since the Cold War by both Finland and Sweden, due to their proximity to the Russian border.
Tervo, for example, is around 200 km from Russian territory and less than 400 km away from Saint Petersburg, one of the largest cities in Russia.
This year, in addition to the Finnish F/A-18s, two fighters performed the first landings and takeoffs from the improvised runway, the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon and the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-35.
The aircraft that participated in the exercise operated from Rissala Air Base, 50 km from the stretch of road.
The joint operation was also an opportunity for the United Kingdom and Norway to work together with Finland, a country that recently joined NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.