309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group - "The Bone Yard"

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base,
Tucson, Arizona

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Sikorsky Vought Miscellaneous

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) is commonly referred to as “The Boneyard” due to the aircraft sitting around watching the clock and calendar go past them. Nestled on the grounds of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base actually it is a very active system from a multitude of aspects.

AMARG’s birth goes back to the timeframe immediately following World War II when the Army, then the owner of the Army Air Force and Army Air Corps depending on the reference you use, owned what would shortly become the United States Air Force. The Army had thousands of aircraft needed to win WWII and the war was over. Now what? The thinkers of the day knew that those aircraft may be needed in whole or as parts support for other aircraft as dictated by the actions in the developing environment of “the new world.” The weather of Tucson was the answer. Hot and dry with limited rain and cheap land which is a sand/gravel mix called caliche that allows heavy vehicles such as aircraft to be parked and moved without concrete aprons, tarmac taxiways, or steel Marsden matting the “long-term aircraft parking ramp” of the U.S. Military was born. The first title is believed to be the 4105th Army Air Force Unit.

When the Air Force became the facilities owner in 1948 it is believed the name was changed to the 3040th Aircraft Storage Group, ASG. In 1965 with the “influence” of the secretary of defense, the facility was renamed Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center or “MASDC”. A title that was to imply it was for joint U.S. Military service use rather than exclusively for the use of the Air Force. This joint use facility concept dictated the disestablishment of the Navy owned and operated storage facility at Naval Air Station Litchfield Park near Goodyear, Arizona for Navy, Marine and Coast Guard aircraft. The aircraft at NAS Litchfield Park were moved to the ASG over the next several years and NAS Litchfield Park was closed in 1968.

In the 1980s the ASG became processing intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs, and the Air Force justified a name change to Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center or AMARC. In 2007 operational command of AMARC was transferred to the 309th Maintenance Wing located at Hill Air Force Base outside Salt Lake City, Utah. With the change in reporting commands AMARC was renamed the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group and it retains that name as of mid-2013.

Over the years thousands of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, National Guard, National Air and Space Administration (NASA), and other governmental agencies have placed aircraft and assets into the facility as well as have requisitioned assets from the facility. Assets at the facility are in numerous states. Several times in the past the issue of starting and stopping aircraft production lines for extended acceptance of the contract run as been evaluated. As a cost saving measure new aircraft were accepted from a single production run by the military and flown directly to the AMARG facility for storage until a later date when the aircraft would be put into active service while its brothers and sisters were bearing the torch of protection.

Some aircraft are sent to the facility for “decontamination,” removing all the good and bad stuff, before the hulk was cut into many pieces and sold as scrap metal. Decontamination, sometimes called “demiling” (de-militarizing) is a specialty of the facility in several aspects as they have a complete description of just about every aircraft operated by the U.S. Government in any way, shape, or form. Essential military or sensitive equipment is removed and placed back into the parts system saving money. Not only are items such as hydraulic fluid and brake fluids removed from the aircraft but specific metals are often removed for sale at higher prices than mixed scrap will generate. This is also a safety issue as metals such as magnesium, common in aircraft, have “superior firepower” when placed in a blast furnace with steel for smelting as scrap metal.

Some aircraft are sent to the facility for an undefined storage term available for parts recovery actions until entering a new phase of their life cycle such as destruction, cannibalization, or sales on the foreign military sales or salvage market. You can see some of these actions in the pictures where numerous components are missing from aircraft at the facility. This is an intense effort because many aircraft components are either date sensitive, hours of use sensitive, or event sensitive such as carrier or field carrier landing sensitive. So the logbooks and records are sent to the facility along with the aircraft. When a component is placed back into the system its specific history must go with it.

The word “regeneration” is in the title for a reason. The facility has the capability to take many of the assets, parts or aircraft, in its custody and place that asset back into service. This process involves complete inspection and testing of all systems, replacement of components near the end of their service life, and testing the aircraft before its first post storage flight as well as completing an appropriate test flight sequence to the asset so it is delivered in a ready to go condition. Some of this regeneration process may result in a new mission for the aircraft as the facility’s personnel may take a piloted aircraft and convert it into an unmanned target drone.

Tours of AMARG is through the Pima Air and Space Museum. The pictures in this group are taken from the tour bus so I apologize for the heads, hands, and cameras you see in the way. I have tried to identify the main subject of the photo by original manufacturer so you will find aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom II identified to McDonnell, the designer and original contractor for the aircraft even though McDonnell and Douglas merged before production ended and McDonnell-Douglas delivered many F-4s. I have tried to include the name of the aircraft on each photo. I have ignored the series since I usually cannot identify of the series from the photo. The photos are grouped by manufacturer and not by sequence of the tour.

Super note!!! I have flight time in at least two of these specific aircraft!!!
Thanks,
Rex

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Alenia

Alenia C-27A Spartan

Alenia C-27A Spartan

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Beechcraft

Beechcraft C-12 Huron

Beechcraft C-12 Huron

Beechcraft C-12 Huron

Beechcraft C-12 Huron

Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor

Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor

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Bell

Bell UH-1 Iroquos and Sikorsky SH60 Seahawk

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Boeing

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Boeing YC-14 Prototype

Grumman E-2 and Boeing YC-14 Prototype

Boeing VC-137 Stratoliner

Boeing YAL-1 Nose Laser Test Bed

Boeing YAL-1 Nose Laser Test Bed

Boeing 707 - Turkish Airliner

Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight,  Bell AH-1 Super Cobra

Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

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Cessna

Cessna T-37 Tweet and Northrop T-38 Talon

Cessna T-37 Tweet and McDonnell F-4 Phantom II

Cessna T-37 Tweet and Northrop T-38 Talon

Cessna T-37 Tweet and McDonnell F-4 Phantom II

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Convair

Convair F-106 Delta Dart, Vought F-8 Crusader

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Dassault

Dassault HU-25 Guardian, Modified Falcon 20

Dassault HU-25 Guardian and McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier

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Douglas

Douglas C-9B Nightingale

Douglas C-9B Nightingale

Douglas C-9B Nightingale and Boeing T-43A Gator

Douglas EC-24A (Modified DC-8F

Douglas EC-24A (Modified DC-8F

Douglas A-3 Skywarrior and Vought A-7 Corsair II

General Dynamics / Grumann  EF-111 Raven

North American T-2C Buckeye and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

North American T-2C Buckeye and Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

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Fairchild

Fairchild Republic T-46 Eaglet and Lockheed T-1 Seastar

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General Dynamics

General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

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General Dynamics / Grumman

General Dynamics / Grumann  EF-111 Raven

General Dynamics / Grumann  EF-111 Raven

General Dynamics / Grumann  EF-111 Raven and Grumman C-2A (Reprocured) Greyhound

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Grumman

Grumman C-1A Trader and Lockheed S-3B Viking

Grumman C-1A Trader and Grumman E-2 with new props

Grumman C-1A Trader and Grumman E-2 with new props

Grumman E-2 with new props and Boeing YC-14 Prototype

Grumman E-2 with new props

Grumman E-2 Hawkeye

Grumman E-2 Hawkeye

Grumman E-2 Hawkeye

Grumman E-2 Hawkeye

Grumman A-6 Intruder and Douglas A-3 Skywarrior

Grumman OV-1 Mohawk

Grumman TC-4C Academe (Modified Gulfstream G-1)

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Lockheed

Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Lockheed S-3 Viking and Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed ES-3 Shadow and Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk

Lockheed S-3 Viking

Lockheed S-3 Viking and US-3A Miss Piggy Viking

US-3A Miss Piggy Viking

Lockheed S-3 Viking

Lockheed P-3 Orion

Lockheed P-3 Orion

Lockheed NP-3 "Billboard" Orion

Lockheed T-1 Seastar and McDonnell-Douglas KC-10 Extender

Lockheed T-1 Seastar and McDonnell-Douglas KC-10 Extender

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Douglas A-3 Skywarrior and Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Lockheed P-2V Neptune

Lockheed D-21 (SR-71 decoy drone)

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LTV

Vought A-7 Corsai II and General Dynamics / Grumman EF-111A Raven

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Martin

Martin B-57 Canbera

Martin WB-57F Canbera with stretched "weather wings"

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McDonnell

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

McDonnell F-4 Phantom II and Vought F-8 Crusader

McDonnell F-4 Phantom II

McDonnell F-4 Phantom II

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McDonnell-Douglas

McDonnell-Douglas KC-10 Extender

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Mikoyan-Gurevich - "MiG"

Cessna O-2 (Super) Birddog - Modified Skymaster

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North American

Vought A-7 Corsai II and North American T-2 Buckeye

Vought A-7 Corsai II and North American T-2 Buckeye

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Northrop

Northrop T-38 Talon and Fairchild Republic T-46 Eaglet Prototype

Northrop T-38 Talon

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Rockwell

Rockwell B-1B Lancer

Rockwell B-1B Lancer

Rockwell B-1B Lancer

Rockwell B-1B Lancer

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Sikorsky

Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk

Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low

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Vought

Vought F-8 Crusader and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

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Miscellaneous

Misc missile parts

Misc jigs

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