Saab Gripen operating from public roads

(Photo: Ernst Vikne.)
If you've ever driven in the woods of Sweden, you would sometimes come upon wide open stretches of public road that would look similar to a runway. Well, chances are that it actually was a runway. Kind of, anyway. The Swedish airforce took into account that in a war with its russian neighbour, they would eventually be overrun. In such a case, they could utilise the specially prepared public roads in the woods, and continue fighting from the air despite having lost the military airfields.

The Saab JAS 39 Gripen was the aircraft suited for this kind of fighting. It is a lightweight single engine multirole fighter aircraft, and as of 2008 a total of 236 had been ordered from several countries. Operating from these public roads, in just ten minutes a ground crew could re-arm and refuel the aircraft, and send it back in the air. 

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