Air Force

First Highway Strip Landing in Poland Since 2 Decades

First Polish Highway Strip landing since 2 decades.
Photo. DGRSZ

Division General, Pilot Ireneusz Nowak, the Air Force Inspector, landed the F-16C MRCA at the Wielbark highway strip - announced General Wiesław Kukuła via his X (formerly Twitter) account. This event has been a part of a highway strip exercise, the first one in 2 decades.

The landing in question took place yesterday, on 25th September 2023. Not only did Gen. Nowak, an experienced F-16 pilot, make the first F-16 highway strip landing ever, but he also landed a Polish combat jet on a highway strip for the first time in 2 decades. The last Polish highway strip exercise took place in 2003.

They had been held quite regularly until the early 21st Century, involving Su-22s, MiG-21s, MiG-23s, or even the twin-engined MiG-29s.

Theoretically, more than 20 highway strips exist in Poland now - hardened sections of roads prepared to handle jets weighing several, or even more than 20 tonnes. These road sections are wider, and feature aircraft aprons, where the jets can be rearmed. The current exercise shows that Poland is implementing the lessons-learned, drawn from the war in Ukraine that has shown how important the scattered operations are for combat aircraft so that they can work independently from the airbases.

A few days ago, the Norwegians demonstrated the F-35A's capability to conduct highway strip operations. The RAF used the very same highway strip and landed a Eurofighter there.