Aircraft “boneyard” paints a picture of military spending

BoneFlag_399They look almost prehistoric. Like  ancient pictographs drawn on the wall of a tomb.

They are Google Earth views of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. What creates this tableau is an aircraft boneyard – a place where aircraft find their final rest. In this case it is the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG).

AMARG is the home for all out-of-service aircraft from all branches of the U.S. government. Some 4,200 military aircraft ranging from modern F-16s and F-18s to drones to Vietnam-era fighters rest at Davis-Monthan.

Why here? Because the desert conditions greatly reduce the chance of rust and corrosion.
The aircraft stored here fall into four categories:
• Long Term – Aircraft kept intact for future use
• Parts Reclamation – Aircraft kept, picked apart and used for spare parts
• Flying Hold – Aircraft kept intact for shorter stays than Long Term
• Excess of DoD needs – Aircraft to be sold off whole or in parts

Consider that the 4,200 aircraft at AMARG are just those not in service. By some estimates, the U.S. military has in operation more than 14,000 aircraft. (You can see a detailed listing of active US military aircraft at Wikipedia.) The number continues to grow.
Ponder this tableau in Google Earth for even a minute, and it becomes apparent that over the years we sure have spent a lot on military hardware.