Runway of Thunder

Producer: Victor Vukosavljevic Duration: 33:00 minutes

The Cold War was in many ways a battle of technology, the East and West competing for the technical edge, by building bigger, faster and more powerful weapons. It was a time of fear and paranoia, with military strategists on both sides probing each other and themselves for potential weaknesses.

The United States Air Force, now in the Jet age, struggled with the dilemma of defending its airfields along the Iron Curtain. A sneak attack might cripple their fighter bomber force and their ability to launch a tactical nuclear attack. At the same time, the Soviets were concerned with defending themselves from an American bomber invasion. But how could they wholly defend the borders of their vast territory?

Both sides would look to the past to safeguard their futures and solve these complex problems. Pushing technology, they developed systems for launching and landing aircraft which might have seemed out of science fiction. It was a struggle to free aircraft from their dependency on runways and to achieve a Zero Length Launch.

tags: zelmal, runway, thunder, fire, zero launch length, mat landing