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The Ingenious Swedish Plan That Keeps Their Planes Flying Even If Bases Are Attacked

The Swedish Air Force Learned Something From the Arab-Israeli Six Day War

Roads can be runways too!

Air Base System 90 is a dispersal and alternate deployment plan developed during the 1970s and utilized by the Swedish Air Force. The system was developed from the Air Base System 60, which was intended to protect and preserve as many of the available aircraft as possible in the event of a nuclear attack. Base 90 was conceived after the Six Day War during 1967. Israel had knocked out the majority of Egypt’s aircraft on the ground due in large part to lack of dispersal or affective protection for those aircraft. The Swedes took a look and decided to put a plan in place to modify some 22 of their airbase installations ASAP.

Photo Credit: Rune Rydh

Rather than maintain revetments (hardened or otherwise) in the two or three locations generally utilized at a given airbase such as near the ends of runway(s) or near the center of the installation, the Swedes devised widely dispersed revetments for their aircraft and widened sections of nearby public roads, turning them into makeshift runways. Centrally located hubs for fuel, lubricants, ordnance, and oxygen allowed Swedish ground crews to service the 20 to 40 widely dispersed Saab 37 Viggen and other combat aircraft at each expanded base as efficiently as possible. The result was that it would take several more sorties, to knock out the same number of Swedish Air Force assets than if they were dispersed in the traditional manner. No single conventional bomb would damage more than a single Swedish fighter.

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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