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U.S. Military Aircraft Boneyard- A Walk Down Memory Lane

Written by on Thursday, June 13th, 2013

How many readers have heard of the U.S. Military aircraft boneyard? I suspect some but there are probably many others that have never heard of the “boneyard”. Okay, well for those that haven’t, have you ever wondered what happens to older U.S. Military aircraft when they’ve either become too old, too tired, and too obsolete or have been replaced by newer versions with better performance and better capability? Well, they check-in to the U.S. Military aircraft bone yard in Tucson, Arizona at Davis Monthan Air Force Base where they are stored in the dry heat of the desert to preserve the airframes as long as possible.

The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, or AMARG is responsible for over 4,200 aircraft as well as many other types of military equipment. From bombers to trainers, to high performance fighter aircraft to gliders, the AMARG is challenged with the mission to preserve the aircraft as best as they can, given the environment and the aircrafts’ elderly age. Some aircraft are kept for ad-hoc requests for part reclamation and airframe cannibalization and others are kept in relatively buy antibiotics in mexico good condition as spares for the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Navy as a quasi-reserve component of the Department of Defense. In addition, the aircraft are often requested to become instructional platforms for various training scenarios as well as for targets, museum exhibits or display pieces and some are smelted down into ingots by nearby metal processor plants.

To see the Davis Monthan AFB “boneyard” is truly amazing for any aviation enthusiast as the aircraft are lined up for miles and represent the finest U.S. combat aircraft in the world, in their day. From F-4 Phantoms that flew off the decks of aircraft carriers over Vietnam to F-15 Eagles dueling with MiGs over Iraq during Desert Storm, the aircraft truly hold a special place in the history books. With fourth and fifth generation fighters filling the sky today like the FA-18E/F Super Hornet and F-22 Raptor, its especially important to recognize and appreciate the aircraft that “kept the watch” from earlier days and the U.S. Military aircraft boneyard is nothing short of spectacular.

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