Satellite Images Of The Largest Military Aircraft Boneyards in the USA

Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is located in Tucson, Arizona. It occupies an area of over 10 square kilometers, equal to roughly 1,870 football fields. The base is the location of the Air Force Materiel Command's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, or AMARG in short. It is also known as the "boneyard." 

With the area's low humidity in the 10%-20% range, meager rainfall of 11" annually, hard alkaline soil, and high altitude of 2,550 feet, it has the "just right" conditions to avoid corrosion and not to need paving when moving massive objects. It has emerged as the perfect venue for one thing: the largest aircraft boneyard in the world, with a typical inventory of more than 4,400 aircraft.

Allowing the aircraft to be naturally preserved for cannibalization or possible reuse, Davis-Monthan is the logical choice for a major storage facility. The geology of the desert allows aircraft to be moved around without having to pave the storage areas.

AMARG's role in the storage of military aircraft began after World War II, and continues today.

Interactive map of AMARG as seen in the most recent Google maps satellite overflight:

Aerial Map of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AMARG and the Pima Air & Space Museum

Follows the brief  story of the world's largest military airplane boneyard.

AMARG was established in 1946 as the 4105th Army Air Force Unit to house B-29 and C-47 aircraft. By May of 1946, more than 600 B-29 Superfortresses and 200 C-47 Skytrains had been moved to Davis-Monthan. Some were preserved and returned to action in the Korean War, others were scrapped.


It is the largest airplane boneyard in the world.

Another role of AMARG is to support the program that converts old fighter jets, such as the F-4 Phantom II and F-16, into aerial target drones. It also serves as an auxiliary facility of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, and stores tooling for out-of-production military aircraft.

AMARG's typical inventory comprises more than 4,400 aircraft, which makes it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.

AMARG is a controlled-access site, and is off-limits to anyone not employed there without the proper clearance. The only access for non-cleared individuals is via a bus tour which is conducted by the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum.

* * *

Below is an extensive photo library of the residents of this final resting place for thousands of America's warplanes.

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and AMARG airplane boneyard in Tucson, Arizona with rows of C-141 Starlifters, B-1B Lancers and F-111 Aardvarks in storage

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

C-141 and B-52 aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Another aerial view of C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG boneyard

Aerial view of aircraft in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG circa 2011

Aerial view of work areas at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG

C-5A Galaxy transports in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG

C-5A Galaxy reclamation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG

A-10 Thunderbolts parked at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG

B-1B Lancer bomber in storage at the Air Force Materiel Command's

Boeing C-135 S/N 91518 parked on Celebrity Row at AMARG

United Air Lines Boeing 727-100, S/N N7004U, built in 1963, on display at Davis-Monthan AMARG's "Celebrity Row"

U.S. Air Force C-22A Transport, S/N 84-0193 ... variant of the Boeing 727 ... parked on Celebrity Row at AMARG

F-14 on display on Celebrity Row at Davis-Monthan AFB's AMARG facility

F-4 Phantom II fighters in desert storage at Tucson, Arizona, AMARG

Helicopters in desert storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona

F-111 Aardvarks in storage at AMARG

KC-135 aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base AMARG in October, 2012

Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II on display on Celebrity Row at AMARG at Davis-Monthan AFB

* * *

That largely covers US warplanes, but what about commercial jets? As the Bossroyal blog shows, many if not most disused, aging or obsolete airliners, end up in the Californian desert, 150 kilometres outside Los Angeles, at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

In addition to being the “world’s premier civilian aerospace test center”, the Mojave Port is also one of America’s most well-known ‘aircraft boneyards’, and just like in Arizona, the dry Nevada conditions are ideal for minimising corrosion on jets looking for new owner-operators, or just looking for a quiet place in which to rust in peace.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of junked or stored airliners form a surreal view amid the harsh landscape in Mojave, and all the major commercial airliner manufacturers – Boeing, Airbus, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed Martin – are well represented.

For plane buffs, Mojave and facilities like it dotted across the US provide both a history of commercial aviation as well as a damning judgement on modern day consumerism.  In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks, for example, the demand for air travel hit massive turbulence, and many major airlines were forced to mothball some of their fleet due to lack of demand. Many of them ended up at Mojave, and many remain there today, waiting to spread their wings once more.

In addition to the boneyards shown above, there are many other active and inactive places where thousands of airplanes and fighter jets have been stored across the continental US. The annotated map below is a handy reference to tracking down most of them.

Source: Airplaneboneyards, Bossroyal