Graveyard of Giants: 5 Awesome Planes Resting in the World’s Biggest Boneyard

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A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy arrives at RAF Mildenhall, England, Apr 22, 1999. The C-5B is delivering 4 fuel trucks to help the fuels management flight of the 100th Supply Squadron keep up with the increasing demand to fuel more KC-135R Stratotankers for Operation Allied Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Brad Fallin)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, known as “The Boneyard,” in Tucson, Arizona, is famous for having the world’s largest collection of stored military aircraft. Managed by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), it holds nearly 3,200 aircraft and over 6,300 engines from the Department of Defense.

The sheer scale of aircraft stored at The Boneyard is staggering. If all these aircraft were operational, it would constitute potentially the fourth-largest air force in the world. Additionally, AMARG manages almost 280,000 line items for aircraft production, special tooling, and special test equipment, highlighting the significant role it plays in military logistics.

The Retired B-52 Stratofortress

Among the multitude of aircraft stored at The Boneyard, several notable ones stand out. The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, the Air Force’s largest strategic airlift, is designed to transport cargo over long distances, surpassing any other aircraft in the Western Air Force in terms of cargo capacity.

Another prominent aircraft stored at The Boneyard is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, affectionately known as the “BUFF” (Big Ugly Fat F***er). With approximately 745 units built since the 1950s, the B-52 is expected to remain in service until the 2050s, underscoring its enduring significance despite its age.

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt, also known as the “Warthog,” has faced debates regarding its retirement due to vulnerability on modern battlefields. However, its future remains uncertain as efforts to divest the A-10 continue, with potential interest from undisclosed buyers.

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer, one of the US Air Force’s strategic bombers, boasts impressive capabilities with the largest conventional payload for both guided and unguided weapons. Alongside the B-52 and B-2 Spirit, it forms the backbone of the long-range bomber force.

Topping the list of stored fighter jets at The Boneyard is the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, with hundreds of retired units resting in the desert. The F-16’s legacy as one of the most successful American fighter jets is evident, with over 4,500 units delivered and in service worldwide. Despite its retirement from the US Air Force, the F-16 continues to be produced for export to various nations, showcasing its enduring popularity and utility.


By Aaron

From Vintage Classics to Modern Marvels, Aaron is deeply immersed in the Automobile culture. He is from Kerala and a Man of Few words. He is Someone who loves to spend his free time reading automobile articles and watching TV Shows.

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