Military training exercise will attempt to land planes on Northern Michigan highway in August

A-10 Warthog Selfridge Air National Guard
Posted at 9:36 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 09:36:34-04

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Air National Guard and several other military outputs from across the country will test landing planes on Michigan highways next month.

According to the Michigan National Guard, the combat readiness exercise will happen in Alpena to demonstrate how active-duty and reserve-component units can integrate to project combat airpower in austere environments.

The MI Air National Guard's 127th wing, the Air Force’s 355th Wing from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona; and, the Air Force Special Operations Command from Duke Field in Florida, will land four A-10 aircraft and two C-146 aircraft on a closed-off portion of the road.

MDOT will close off M-32 near the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center on Aug. 5.

The large-scale military training event, called Exercise Northern Strike, will be hosted by the Michigan National Guard at the National All Domain Warfighting Center.

“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 U.S. Air Force 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 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base are designed to be able to operate from an austere location. In June 2018, they landed on highways in Estonia for an operation.

“This year’s Northern Strike exercise includes testing the rapid insertion of an Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) into a bare-base environment when the 127th Wing from Selfridge (ANBG) deploys up to the Alpena CRTC,” said U.S. Air Force 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.”

“Michigan’s NADWC is uniquely postured to provide ample training airspace and facilities to accommodate training for the future high-end fight,” said Teff. “Michigan is integral to the joint fight and future warfighter. The joint force cannot execute without training as we fight.”

MDOT will close M-32 from east of Herron Rd. to west of King Settlement Rd. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 5.

Electrical power will also be temporarily disconnected to residences immediately surrounding the landing area between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“On behalf of the entire CRTC team, I’d like to extend our gratitude for the outstanding support we enjoy from our civil partners and the local community. Without them, this historic training event would not be possible,” said Col. Rossi. “This is only made possible by the unwavering support of the community members, the unmatched airspace that northern Michigan provides, as well as the support of community leaders, business and other support agencies.”