Runways on motorways

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Trebeck
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Trebeck » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:06

Used to be good craic when I went years ago with my dad who was a racer, prior to Nutts Corner the main Belfast stock car racing was at Dunmore greyhound track.
Unfortunately local residents objected to the noise, and it moved to Nutts Corner. The entire stadium closed about 15 years ago.

Tempted now to visit the boxing day event...

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by quarella » Wed Nov 12, 2014 14:23

I've become a bit of a fair weather follower. Think Boxing day would be too cold. The track that is having neighbour issues at the moment is Mildenhall in Suffolk. Open since 1975. A couple who moved in in 2006 have been to the Supreme Court and won re noise. The promoter is appealing against the decision. Tenuous link to runways is how close they are to a US Air Force Base. :roll:

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B 67
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by B 67 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:17

Although not motorways, there are a number of emergency runways on highways in outback Australia for air ambulance (Royal Flying Doctor Service) use.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... y_RFDS.jpg

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Big Nick » Sat Jan 12, 2019 09:54

I haven't seen this footage of the Jaguar M55 exercise before - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBZ3xbgN_M
The orange Police car is rather surprising!

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Bryn666 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 16:06

Big Nick wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 09:54
I haven't seen this footage of the Jaguar M55 exercise before - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeBZ3xbgN_M
The orange Police car is rather surprising!
It was good publicity for both Warton and the NWRCU hence why they did it.

Orange police cars for motorway patrols were a Lancashire Constabulary specification in the early days, high visibility being deemed essential.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by roadtester » Thu Jul 22, 2021 18:03

Apparently the RAF is looking at a return to the Cold War practice of using suitable stretches of motorway as dispersal airfields.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/raf-dis ... motorways/
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Ruperts Trooper » Thu Jul 22, 2021 18:22

roadtester wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 18:03
Apparently the RAF is looking at a return to the Cold War practice of using suitable stretches of motorway as dispersal airfields.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/raf-dis ... motorways/
Interestingly, the Typhoon's take-off run is less than the Jaguar used in the 1975 trial on the unopened M55.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by WHBM » Thu Jul 22, 2021 18:34

Always sounds impressive. I gather a key benefit is it allows the Highways authority to raid the Military budget.

In case you think this is far fetched, the initial US-wide Interstate project was commonly named the "National Interstate and Defense Highways Act" for this reason among others. Central government often finds it easier to allocate funds through the military, where you don't have opponents saying "toll it instead".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_A ... ct_of_1956

In more recent times in the UK setting aside part of an already planned HQDC as Bus Lane allowed the raiding of the public transport budget to cover an overspend, despite there being no bus service there. Eventually, when all was forgotten, the markings were burned off. Those who have followed my past posts know where these are.

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by roadtester » Thu Jul 22, 2021 18:41

I think the whole discipline of dispersal is if anything more important than it was back during the Cold War.

The RAF's frontline fleet of warplanes is far smaller than it was back then and AIUI concentrated on just three or four airfields which obviously makes it far easier for a peer adversary to take the whole lot out in one go if they aren't moved around.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by M4 Cardiff » Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:08

AIUI is there not a policy in roadbuilding to NOT build extensive straights on motorways and HQDCs and using wide radius sweeping turns instead? If so, this could easily turn out to have been quite a botch as it has prevented significant lengths of road from being considered for emergency military use. Maybe historically it was always assumed that a large number of the old WW2 fields could be 'borrowed' back and runways patched up to a basic serviceability at a reasonably short notice, but they have had 30 years of redevelopment and British weather to contend with since the end of the Cold War, so motorway usage was never really considered at the design stage.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Ruperts Trooper » Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:16

M4 Cardiff wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:08
AIUI is there not a policy in roadbuilding to NOT build extensive straights on motorways and HQDCs and using wide radius sweeping turns instead? If so, this could easily turn out to have been quite a botch as it has prevented significant lengths of road from being considered for emergency military use. Maybe historically it was always assumed that a large number of the old WW2 fields could be 'borrowed' back and runways patched up to a basic serviceability at a reasonably short notice, but they have had 30 years of redevelopment and British weather to contend with since the end of the Cold War, so motorway usage was never really considered at the design stage.
I think the idea of a 5+ year expansion plan for the RAF, like the '30s, is a non-starter - we'll have just hours or maybe just minutes to disperse our front-line squadrons.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by M4 Cardiff » Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:10

Ruperts Trooper wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:16
M4 Cardiff wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:08
AIUI is there not a policy in roadbuilding to NOT build extensive straights on motorways and HQDCs and using wide radius sweeping turns instead? If so, this could easily turn out to have been quite a botch as it has prevented significant lengths of road from being considered for emergency military use. Maybe historically it was always assumed that a large number of the old WW2 fields could be 'borrowed' back and runways patched up to a basic serviceability at a reasonably short notice, but they have had 30 years of redevelopment and British weather to contend with since the end of the Cold War, so motorway usage was never really considered at the design stage.
I think the idea of a 5+ year expansion plan for the RAF, like the '30s, is a non-starter - we'll have just hours or maybe just minutes to disperse our front-line squadrons.
Sorry, I wasnt particularly clear. What I meant, that since the end of the Cold War, the condition of old WW2 era airfields will have degraded by 30 more years than they were in 1991, and had they previously been considered plausible emergency dispersal fields back then, they may not be suitable now for extremely short notice dispersal use, as repair of surface and removal of obstacles may be weeks work rather than hours.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Ruperts Trooper » Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:44

M4 Cardiff wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:10
Ruperts Trooper wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:16
M4 Cardiff wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 22:08
AIUI is there not a policy in roadbuilding to NOT build extensive straights on motorways and HQDCs and using wide radius sweeping turns instead? If so, this could easily turn out to have been quite a botch as it has prevented significant lengths of road from being considered for emergency military use. Maybe historically it was always assumed that a large number of the old WW2 fields could be 'borrowed' back and runways patched up to a basic serviceability at a reasonably short notice, but they have had 30 years of redevelopment and British weather to contend with since the end of the Cold War, so motorway usage was never really considered at the design stage.
I think the idea of a 5+ year expansion plan for the RAF, like the '30s, is a non-starter - we'll have just hours or maybe just minutes to disperse our front-line squadrons.
Sorry, I wasnt particularly clear. What I meant, that since the end of the Cold War, the condition of old WW2 era airfields will have degraded by 30 more years than they were in 1991, and had they previously been considered plausible emergency dispersal fields back then, they may not be suitable now for extremely short notice dispersal use, as repair of surface and removal of obstacles may be weeks work rather than hours.
In that context, I agree - there are two aspects to this, the dispersal of F35B Lightning II with VTOL capability might be able to use parts of WW2 airfields or roads in the same way that Harriers could during the Cold War but Eurofighter Typhoons would need 500 metres of hard surface for conventional take-off and landing.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Steven » Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:52

Ruperts Trooper wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:44
In that context, I agree - there are two aspects to this, the dispersal of F35B Lightning II with VTOL capability might be able to use parts of WW2 airfields or roads in the same way that Harriers could during the Cold War but Eurofighter Typhoons would need 500 metres of hard surface for conventional take-off and landing.
There were suggestions during the Cold War to disperse the Harrier force to urban areas as well as rural - the most interesting study that I'd heard of was to use large car showrooms which could easily have the glass fronts taken out and support one or two aircraft in each, with the roads fronting them being perfect for VSTOL operation.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by M4 Cardiff » Fri Jul 23, 2021 16:53

and that's before you consider ensuring that in the worst case, the heavy support aircraft can also be sent to safe places, although I believe that the C130, A440 and C17s are all designed for relatively short field performance and can operate from less than optimal surfaces if needed.
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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by exiled » Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:14

These things are a legacy of basic state paranoia for defence most countries have. If you are going to put in infrastructure one might as well ask defence if they can input. There is a bridge between Switzerland and Germany, paid for by both this century, that the Swiss did not tell the Germans was rigged with explosives until they decided to remove it. So realistically the surprise should not be that there are motorways usable as runways, the surprise should be if a cold war era motorway did not have said provision.

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Big Nick » Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:30

In time of war Motorways and major A-roads will be needed to move the Army and supplies around - this includes food to the supermarkets. I don't see them being closed just for flight operations without suitable diversions.
Restricting civilian movements by rationing petrol/diesel is likely but you'd need checkpoints for EVs :twisted:

It is quite possible to disperse the RAF fighters to the many civil airfields and airports across the UK. There are over 100 suitable hard runways in regular use. Operating from stretches of closed roads with a large hardstanding (services or car park) is also an option, as is reactivating former runways at Army barracks.

But this is only good for a short period as after several flights the aircraft will need servicing back at the main base. That is where the weakness lies. Once the enemy knocks out the maintenance site the machines will eventually be unrepairable.

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by exiled » Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:57

Big Nick wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:30
In time of war Motorways and major A-roads will be needed to move the Army and supplies around - this includes food to the supermarkets. I don't see them being closed just for flight operations without suitable diversions.
Restricting civilian movements by rationing petrol/diesel is likely but you'd need checkpoints for EVs :twisted:

It is quite possible to disperse the RAF fighters to the many civil airfields and airports across the UK. There are over 100 suitable hard runways in regular use. Operating from stretches of closed roads with a large hardstanding (services or car park) is also an option, as is reactivating former runways at Army barracks.

But this is only good for a short period as after several flights the aircraft will need servicing back at the main base. That is where the weakness lies. Once the enemy knocks out the maintenance site the machines will eventually be unrepairable.
There is a strong element in military planning of planning for the last war, and having to rewrite the book very quickly. WWI for example started off with the playbook of the Franco Prussian war of 1870, the sequel kicked off fighting WWI.

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Chris5156 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 13:52

I’d have thought possible sites to be used as emergency runways are vanishing by the year as more motorways gain gantries and overhanging MS4 signs :shock:

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Re: Runways on motorways

Post by Bryn666 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 14:05

Cold War Transition to War plans would have seen major trunk roads closed to civilian traffic to ensure the movement of military and essential services. This would have included selected stretches of motorway as runways if needed.

Of course, if the Cold War had reached a point that they were shutting motorways and trunk roads to general use, you'd be about 48 hours from the end of civilisation so it's not worth worrying about which bits of the M6 you can land a jet fighter on.
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