NATO hopeful holds rare air drills — RT World News

Finland prepares to take off from the highway if its air bases are attacked

The Finnish Air Force closed a major highway for the first time in decades to host military exercises, with fighter jets using the road as a makeshift runway as forces The country’s armed forces are conducting drills in preparation for a possible attack.

Finnish F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, as well as dozens of Hawk Mk trainers and other military aircraft, staged takeoffs and landings at Joutsa Road base in Central Finland on Wednesday, the head of the Finnish Air Force Academy, Colonel Vesa Mantyla, told Reuters.

The Air Force shared footage of the exercise on social media, noting that Hornet also took part in an exercise. “Hot refueling” drill, in which a jet is loaded with gas with its engines running to allow “Take off quickly back into the air.”

While Finland regularly holds air exercises from its reserve bases – scattered across the country to allow the army to spread out forces in the event of an attack – Joutsa base has not been used for decades, as it is considered a major highway. the capital city of Helsinki.

Colonel Mantyla said the bases are now “In pretty good condition” and could be operational in a few days, arguing that “Russian threat or actions from Russia with cruise and ballistic missiles” in Ukraine “Prove that the concept of distributed operations is correct.”

Wednesday’s drills were held on a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) stretch of highway and involved about 200 support personnel, drawing “Hundreds” Locals came to the side of the road to watch the event, according to Reuters.

Along with neighboring Sweden, Finland applied to join the NATO alliance not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, with most members quickly approving their applications. Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries in the US-led military bloc that have yet to formally ratify the accession to the two Nordic countries, leaving the process in limbo, as the alliance must unanimously ratify new members.

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