Did you know that with 3,150 aircraft, 5,900 engines and 340,000 pieces of aircraft 309 AMARG could be the second largest air force in the world?

Did you know that with 3,150 aircraft, 5,900 engines and 340,000 pieces of aircraft 309 AMARG could be the second largest air force in the world?

By Dario Leone
Dec 21 2022
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Today the 309 AMARG has grown to include more than 3,150 aircraft, 5,900 engines and 340,000 pieces of aircraft.

Taken at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB), Ariz., the incredible photos in this post show some of the more than 3,150 retired aircraft stored at the US Air Force (USAF) “Boneyard,” the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG).


The 309 AMARG is a one-of-a-kind specialized facility within the Air Force Materiel Command structure. 309 AMARG provides critical aerospace maintenance and regeneration capabilities for Joint and Allied/Coalition warfighters in support of global operations and agile combat support for a wide range of military operations.

B-52s at 309 AMARG

Immediately after World War II, the Army’s San Antonio Air Technical Service Command established a storage facility for B-29 and C-47 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB. Today, this facility is the 309 AMARG, which has grown to include more than 3,150 aircraft, 5,900 engines and 340,000 pieces of aircraft production tooling from the Air Force, Navy-Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and several federal agencies including NASA. America’s “Airpower Reservoir,” the 309 AMARG, celebrated 75 years on Apr. 1, 2021.

KC-135R Print
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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was chosen because of Tucson’s low humidity, infrequent rainfall, alkaline soil and high altitude of 2,550 feet (780 m), reducing rust and corrosion. The hard soil makes it possible to move aircraft around without having to pave the storage areas.

B-52 Model
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Some aircraft are kept in flying condition, able to be restored to service with minimal rework. Others are kept in long-term preservation, which requires more extensive work to be restored but otherwise kept whole. These aircraft are kept around because there’s no need for them at that moment, but there might be in the future.

309 AMARG airview

Most are used for “cannibalization,” sources of parts for operational aircraft. Even if that aircraft type has been decommissioned, there are common parts which still might be useful. Still others are simply awaiting eventual disposal and recycling.

B-52s stored at 309 AMARG

Incredibly its 3,150 aircraft would make of the 309 AMARG the second largest air force in the world (with USAF ranking at number one).

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Source: U.S. Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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  1. eLaReF says:

    Except that many are incomplete and even those kept in ‘flyable’ storage take a LOT of work to get flying again e.g. the 2 x B-52s and the B-57 that flew away (The B-57 after 42 years storage) each took about 6 months work. And that was only just enough to get them flown to a depot where the main work of getting them up to date would take place

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