Aircraft

Catching jets: How to stop military aircraft in an emergency

There are two main ways to catch a jet, regardless of whether the landing is at an airfield or on an aircraft carrier at sea.

Flying military jets is a dangerous business.

In the event of an aircraft experiencing difficulties when coming in to land – whether that's a mechanical failure, like its brakes, or an unforeseen emergency, like hitting a bird – airfields are equipped with safety systems to bring a jet to a halt.

Every military airfield has an emergency system to catch a jet and it is almost identical to the methods used 50 years ago.

Hawks can be caught by nets but taller aircraft, like typhoons and F-15s, use what is known as the RHAG, or rotary hydraulic arrestor gear, which is a cable across the runway that the jets hook onto as they land.