Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter jets land on motorway

An F-35A Lockheed Martin fighter jet lands on a motorway, in Tervo, Finland September 21, 2023. NTB/Ole Andreas Vekve via REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - A pair of F-35A Lockheed Martin fighter jets have landed on a motorway for the first time, footage from the Norwegian military showed, a step that enables them to reduce vulnerable time on the ground in times of war.

The two Royal Norwegian Air Force aircraft landed in Tervo, central Finland, on Thursday afternoon as part of a military exercise.

Immediately after landing, refuelling was carried out with the engines running, a so-called "hotpit refuelling", the Norwegian military said, before the planes took off again.

"Fighter jets are vulnerable on the ground, so by being able to use small airfields – and now motorways – (this) increases our survivability in war," Major General Rolf Folland, chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, said in the statement.

Finland, which joined NATO in April, shares a 1,300 km (810 mile) border with Russia. Norway is a founding member of the alliance.

Another type of F-35, the F-35B which is able to land vertically, has landed on roads before. This was a first for this particular version of the F-35 jet, which cannot land vertically.

F-16s are also able to land on roads.

Finland is planning to buy 64 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

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