30 June 2011

The 'Boneyard', Tucson, AZ

The 'Boneyard', covers approx. 2,600 acres, has an average of 4,200 aircraft stored on site, has approx. 600 employees and is valued around $27 billion.

AMARC, or the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center, is a joint service facility managed by the US Air Force Material Command located in the town of Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Often referred to as 'The Boneyard', AMARC is an aerospace storage and maintenance facility adjoining Davis-Monthan Air Force Base which provides a service to all branches of the US military (Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Army), as well as other national agencies.

Currently controlling over 4,200 aircraft as well as many other types of military equipment, AMARC works very hard in promoting itself as not just a 'Boneyard' and takes every opportunity in explaining how it operates it's cost effective, tax saving operations. Many of the stored aircraft can be returned to an operational status in a short period of time and there is a continual process of anti-corrosion and re-preservation work which keeps the aircraft in a stable condition during their stay.

The reason the Boneyard reference exists is due to other work that AMARC carries out, that of reclamation of spare parts and the eventual disposal of spent airframes. The Center can be divided into 2 distinct areas, the RIT (Reclamation Insurance Type) area located to the east side of Kolb Road is littered with aircraft in various states of completeness. The junkyard appearance belies the fact that these aircraft are controlled by a process of careful part reclamation, both to a schedule and to ad-hoc requests. On careful examination many of these aircraft can be seen re-sealed to protect the remaining components from the dirt and heat.

There are many times that aircraft from the RIT area leave AMARC to become instructional aircraft, targets on Army or Air Force ranges, museum exhibits or display pieces, although most end up being smelted down into ingots by nearby metal processors. 

AMARC has also been heavily involved in the elimination of B-52 Stratofortresses under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START),  and were also responsible for the eliminiation of 445 Ground Launch Cruise Missiles (GLCM) and their launchers under the INF Treaty. 

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