A busy motorway in Russia was turned into an emergency runway as part of a military exercise which saw warplanes thunder over stunned motorists.
Vehicles were halted on the Khabarovsk to Komsomolsk-on-Amur motorway to allow Su-30SM, Su-35S and MiG-31 pilots to test their landing and takeoff skills on the narrow road.
Halted motorists filmed the amazing scenes as they got a grandstand view for the military exercise close to the Chinese border in the Russian Far East.
Military Mi-26 helicopters also swooped in to land on the highway, and an An-26 was seen touching down on the two-lane road.
Large traffic jams of cars and lorries formed in both directions.
Pilots were ordered to respond to a scenario where they needed to use an alternative to their damaged runway as they came under ground fire.
In fact the highway at this point in the Russian Far East is specially designed for emergency landings by both military and civilian planes – and even has markings for the start of the runway.
The one-and-a-quarter mile stretch will also be closed for several hours on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday next week for more war games, with armed soldiers blocking traffic.
The spectacle along the tree-lined highway is part of the massive Vostok 2018 (East2018) drills – the latest military exercises ordered by Vladimir Putin to ensure his forces are battle-ready.
The defence ministry in Moscow announced: “For the purpose of preparing for the Vostok 2018 exercise, the Russian armed forces will hold a special drill to practice tactical support to forces operating in the eastern strategic sector.”
Last summer’s Zapad 2017 (West 2017) exercises were strongly criticised by NATO.
The massive drills include army, airforce and navy forces.
Next week military vehicles arriving by road and rail will be loaded onto warships of the Pacific Fleet.
Elsewhere a 3,300 ft pontoon bridge will be constructed over the Zeya River in Amur region for a makeshift rail line to transport military equipment.
Russia shares a 2,616 mile border with China and while relations are seen as friendly, Moscow has boosted its military strength under Putin in its eastern as well as western regions.
Motorists posted approving comments on the air force display.
“Cool! Lucky to be stopped,” said one.
“Amazing sight,” said another.
“Beautiful! The large-scale drills East 2018.”