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Part of Spangdahlem Air Base in 1990
Part of Spangdahlem Air Base in 1990
Finnish Airforce BAe Hawk Mk51A fighter (HW-355) at Kauhava Airport in Kauhava, Finland in 2008
Finnish Airforce BAe Hawk Mk51A fighter (HW-355) at Kauhava Airport in Kauhava, Finland in 2008

An air base (sometimes referred to as a military air base, military airfield, military airport, air station, naval air station, air force station, or air force base) is an aerodrome used as a military base by a military force for the operation of military aircraft.

Air base facilities

An air base typically has some facilities similar to a civilian airport—for example, air traffic control and firefighting. Some military aerodromes have passenger facilities; for example RAF Brize Norton in England has a terminal used by passengers for the Royal Air Force's flights. A number of military air bases also have a civil enclave for commercial passenger flights, e.g. Beijing Nanyuan Airport (China), Chandigarh Airport (India), Ibaraki Airport (Japan), Burlington International Airport (USA), Sheikh Ul-Alam International Airport Srinagar (India), Taipei Songshan Airport (Taiwan).

Some air bases have revetments, hardened aircraft shelters, or even underground hangars, to protect aircraft from enemy attack. Combat aircraft require storage of aircraft ordnance. An air base may be defended by anti-aircraft weapons and force protection troops.

JAS 39 Gripen of the Swedish Air Force taking off from a road runway, as part of a dispersal air base
JAS 39 Gripen of the Swedish Air Force taking off from a road runway, as part of a dispersal air base

Dispersal air base

A dispersal air base is an airfield that is used for the purpose of dispersing air units in the event of conflict, so to minimize the vulnerability of aircraft and its supporting units while on the ground.[1] Dispersal air bases are not necessarily ordinarily operational in peace time and only becomes activated when needed. Airfields used as dispersal bases can either be auxiliary military airfields, civilian airports or highway strips. Examples of uses of dispersal bases are the Swedish Bas 60 and Bas 90 systems, the British V-Bomber dispersal bases and NATO's Dispersed Operating Bases in France.

Highway strip on Autobahn A29 near Ahlhorn
Highway strip on Autobahn A29 near Ahlhorn

Road air base

Road air bases are highways constructed to double as auxiliary air bases in the event of war. Nations known to utilize this strategy are India,[2] Sweden,[3] Finland, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland,[4] South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Pakistan and the Czech Republic. In the case of Finnish road air bases, the space needed for landing aircraft is reduced by means of an arrestor wire, similar to that used on some aircraft carriers (Finnish Air Force uses F-18s, which can land on aircraft carriers).[5]

Aircraft carrier

An aircraft carrier is a type of naval ship which serves as a seaborne air base, the development of which has greatly enhanced the capabilities of modern air forces. They are now a key part of the military, allowing for military aircraft to be staged much nearer the theater conflict. Aircraft carriers were vital to the United States during World War II and to the United Kingdom in the 1982 Falklands War. They retain modern roles as well as "several acres of sovereign territory a nation can move about at will", which allows greater flexibility in diplomacy as well as military affairs. Aircraft carriers are also used in disaster relief.

See also


  1. ^ Halliday, John M. (February 1987). "Tactical Dispersal of Fighter Aircraft" (PDF). RAND Corporation.
  2. ^ "Mirage 2000 Fighter Jet Test-Lands on Yamuna Expressway Near Delhi as Part of Trials". Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  3. ^ [1] Archived February 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Swiss Air Force, Uno Zero Zero – Ein Jahrhundert Schweizer Luftwaffe Archived 2016-08-15 at the Wayback Machine, Aeropublications, 2013, 324 pages (ISBN 978-3-9524239-0-5).
  5. ^ "Puolustusvoimat – Försvarsmakten – The Finnish Defence Forces". Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
This page was last edited on 11 September 2022, at 21:51
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