Like Navy aircraft, ground based Air Force fighters also have a tail hook for catching an emergency arresting cable (also called a barrier), in case they are unable to break normally.
The cable is not normally in the "up" position, in rubber blocks about 6 inches above ground where the tail hook can grab it. Unless there was a situation that required it, it would be in the "down" position, below ground where the aircraft could simply roll over it. The tower and the Fire Department have the ability to extend the cable into the "up" position when needed.
Generally you will find these only at Air Force base where fighter aircraft call home station. This is a BAK-9 or BAK13 barrier at Hill Air Force Base, in Utah.
By jbottero @ 2006-02-17 17:30:22