On Aug. 5, 2021 the Michigan Air National Guard will land military aircraft on a public roadway rather than a designated runway for the first time ever.
As reported by ABC 12, a stretch of M-32 near Alpena will be closed for five hours for the training exercise, which includes four A-10s and two C-146 aircraft. The aircraft are based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and Duke Field in Florida.
Noteworthy the Warthog can be serviced and operated from austere bases with limited facilities near battle areas. Many of the aircraft’s parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers.
Specifically designed for close air support (CAS), its combination of large and varied ordnance load, long loiter time, accurate weapons delivery, austere field capability, and survivability has proven invaluable to the US and its allies.
The C-146A Wolfhound instead provides US Special Operations Command flexible and responsive operational movement of small teams and cargo in support of Theater Special Operations Commands. Airlift missions are conducted by Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to prepared and semi-prepared airfields around the world.
“This is believed to be the first time in history that modern Air Force aircraft have intentionally landed on a civilian roadway on U.S. soil,” said US Air Force (USAF) Col. James Rossi, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center commander. “Our efforts are focused on our ability to train the warfighter in any environment across the continuum so our nation can compete, deter, and win today and tomorrow.”
The drill is part of the two-week Northern Strike Exercise taking place on 148,000 acres of Camp Grayling and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, along with 17,000 square miles between them.
“This year’s Northern Strike exercise includes testing the rapid insertion of an Air Expeditionary Wing into a bare-base environment when the 127th Wing from Selfridge deploys up to the Alpena CRTC,” said USAF Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, Michigan Air National Guard adjutant general for air. “They will establish logistics and communications in order to receive follow-on forces, generate mission employment, including the austere landing on M-32, and project combat power across all domains.”
Photo credit: NATO / U.S. Air Force
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