In 1946, immediately after World War II, the Army’s San Antonio Air Technical Service Command established a storage facility at Davis-Monthan AFB. In the decades since it was first built it has seen a wide variety of different planes and technology being added. Such so, that today it houses more than 3,150 aircraft, 5,900 engines, and 340,000 pieces of aircraft production tooling from the various governmental institutions of the United States.
The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was specifically selected because of its placement in Tucson, Ariz. The area does not experience a great deal of rain and maintains a fairly desert low humidity, both of which are excellent conditions for aircraft durability. This, combined with its high altitude and alkaline soil, made the region an appropriate location for aircraft maintenance and storage. Therefore rust and corrosion are less likely to form.
Throughout the years, the Boneyard’s official name has undergone several changes. Only two years after it was first established, the unit was rebranded as the 3040th Aircraft Storage Depot. This was followed by the decision to make the United States Air Force a separate service in its own right.
In 1965, it was given a new designation once again. It became formally known as the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center. It was tasked with the job of servicing aircraft from all branches of the American military, rather than exclusively those of the Air Force.
Up until this point, other sections of the U.S. Armed Forces had run their own “boneyards”. Like the Naval Air Station in Goodyear, Arizona. However, the base in Tucson had widened its focus. Part of widening the focus was housing aircraft from all military branches. As for the naval air base in Arizona, roughly half a thousand aircraft were removed from their unit and transported to Tucson. This gradual expansion in the different types of aircraft that the base is charged with handling has been a continuous theme for the facility.
In the 1980’s, they were given yet another new name: the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center. This was due to the fact that they had now advanced in working with almost all forms of aerospace assets and equipment.Then, in 2007, the unit underwent its most recent name change and became the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.
As well as acting in its official capacity, the Boneyard has over the years featured in a number of major Hollywood movies. For example blockbusters like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, released back in 2009. Regardless of Hollywood attraction, the base is a popular tourist attraction in its own right, and the Pima Air and Space Museum runs regular bus tours through the site as it has done so since May of 1976.
These compelling and high quality photographs show a wide variety of aircraft awaiting redeployment or scrapping. From a powerful Lockheed C-130 Hercules to the first and last Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser to the B-52, these images show the incredible range of modern and early-modern aircraft housed there today.
The Boneyard can be found in Tucson, Arizona at the premises of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Officially, this United States base is known for being the location of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG).