Last week, SwAF Gripen fighters trained to take-off and land on a national highway in Sweden, reports Forsvarsmakten. A portion of the national highway 44 between Lidköping and Grästorp was used as an exercising ground while the usual traffic was directed to an alternate road.
"Our goal is to increase our operational readiness, and flexibility to be able to take-off and land at places that do not have fixed installations helps us do that," says the head of Skaraborg's air fleet, Colonel Malin Persson, who visited the highway during the day. "By practicing take-offs and landings at unexpected places, you enable the fleet to operate quickly in any given situation that may arise," Colonel Persson added.
The key to maximise operational effect is to make the fighters ready at all times. This is why Gripen was designed with STOL (Short Take-off and Landing) capabilities which allows the fighters to be airborne even during harsh conditions with a road strip of only 16x800 meters.
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