$35billion worth of outdated planes at 'The Boneyard'.

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The Boneyard - Where Planes Go To Die

It's where old planes go to die - a 2,600-acre patch of U.S. desert where several generations of military aircraft are stored in what has been dubbed 'The Boneyard'.

The $35billion (£22billion) worth of outdated planes is kept as spare parts for current models at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.



End of the line: The 2,600 acre site is home to 4,200 aircraft, of which 80 per cent are used as spare parts for the current U.S Air Force fleet.



Some planes are merely stored at the base between deployments, but for more than 80 per cent of the 4,200 aircraft that call it home, it is a cemetery of steel - 350,000 items to be called on when needed.

The base is home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group (309 AMARG) which carries out repairs to the craft and even gets some of them flying again.

Engines, munitions, wiring and electronics are all recycled to help lower the cost of maintaining the current-day fleet. In 2005, staff at the facility recycled more than 19,000 parts worth $568million (£366million).

The U.S. government even allows the military in other countries to buy parts and even planes from the site.

The facility is the size of 1,300 football pitches.

The site has been a curiosity for eagle-eyed Google Earth users since the satellite imagery software was launched in 2005, but now for the first time it is available to view in high resolution.

The desert is a perfect place to store the mass of steel, because low humidity and rainfall means very little rust occurs. In addition, the hard soil means they can be parked up without the need for building concrete ramps.

The military has used Davis-Monthan as a plane storage facility for 60 years, and in recent years its unique landscape has been called on by Hollywood for such films as Transformers.



One of the reasons why the aircraft are kept here is because in the desert there is low humidity and rainfall which means very little rust occurence.



On the left are B-52 bombers, which were built to carry nuclear weapons. They have been chopped up for scrap and (right) these are F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers which were used extensively in the Vietnam War.


Squeezed up against each other these B-52s are stored at what has been dubbed 'The Boneyard'.


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