From September 25 to 29, 2023, the Polish Air Force conducted military aircraft take-offs and landings from section of a public motorway. The military exercise code-named “ROUTE 604” was held on the airport road section – DOL or Drogowy Odcinek Lotniskowy in Polish – of the provincial road no. 604, southeast of Gdansk. The exercise “ROUTE 604” is a military aviation training using a road section as a runway and is intended for the Polish Air Force personnel to practice the procedures for landing and take-off of military aircraft on a public road.
“This training enables our pilots and the supporting ground crews to operate in the event of a crisis, e.g. when they have to fly out of alternate temporary installation if they can’t land at their home base. This is the first military exercise using DOL in 20 years; it offers an opportunity to hone our aircrew’s skills and resilience,” said Lieutenant Colonel Magda Busz, spokesperson of the General Command of the Polish Armed Forces.
The operations during ROUTE 604 were carried out by MiG-29, Su-22 F-16 fighter jets, M-346 trainer aircraft and C-130, C-295M and M-28 transport aircraft from across flying units of the Polish Air Force. Allies have recently conducted similar manoeuvres to expose their pilots to challenges involved in this expeditionary type of operation. The Finnish are regularly conducting highway landings and take-offs and earlier this month, Norwegian F-35s and British Typhoons have joined the Finnish F-18s during highway exercise Baana 23.