Boneyard Question

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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mixelflick

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Unread post12 Jan 2019, 16:17

So it's well established we have one of the largest air force's in the world - sitting in the desert, LOL. Theoretically, some of these aircraft in "flyable storage" can be re-activated and put back into service.

QUESTION: Does anyone know if this has ever occurred, on any large scale? Say more than 100 airframes..

For example, let's say LM for whatever reason can't make F-35's for 2-3 years. Terrorists blow up the plant where they're made, and conduct simultaneous attacks in Italy and Japan (where I think the other factories are). Could the USAF "re-activate" hundreds of F-15's or F-16's in that event?

I understand we go there on occasion to source spare parts, or occasionally re-activate an airframe or 2 (B-1, B-52 etc). I'm just wondering if we've ever had to do so on a grander scale...?
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durahawk

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Unread post12 Jan 2019, 17:30

I seriously doubt it. The parts picking is much more frequent than occasional, and I would suspect the majority of the airframes have several parts missing. There was a reason the forces had to turn to AMARG in the first place remember, likely because that part was either out of production completely or unable to be sourced on a reasonable time line. Trying to resurrect aircraft in mass would ve very time consuming and expensive.

The F-35 on the other hand is assembled not only in Fort Worth, but three different locations. The engines are assembled in three different locations, and piece parts are literally made all over the world... some of them dual sourced. I think in that light, the F-35 might have one of the most resilient supply chains in history of aircraft production.
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h-bomb

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Unread post12 Jan 2019, 22:31

mixelflick wrote:So it's well established we have one of the largest air force's in the world - sitting in the desert, LOL. Theoretically, some of these aircraft in "flyable storage" can be re-activated and put back into service.

QUESTION: Does anyone know if this has ever occurred, on any large scale? Say more than 100 airframes..

For example, let's say LM for whatever reason can't make F-35's for 2-3 years. Terrorists blow up the plant where they're made, and conduct simultaneous attacks in Italy and Japan (where I think the other factories are). Could the USAF "re-activate" hundreds of F-15's or F-16's in that event?

I understand we go there on occasion to source spare parts, or occasionally re-activate an airframe or 2 (B-1, B-52 etc). I'm just wondering if we've ever had to do so on a grander scale...?


In recent time the only "mass" return was the F-4Gs back in the 1990s. The USAF retired all but the Idaho ANGs 124th FS. Then regenerated the 561st to 57th Wing at Nellis 1993/4. 32 airframes some from AMARG.

They went to the Bones yard for a reason, and both squadrons were in AMARC by mid 1996. They had cracks in the spine, and the main gear pivots were cracking as well. We also were out of magnetrons for the radars. But the airframes were failing so fast at that point we had no problems with parts.

I do not think many of the 561/124 FS became targets, even they did not want these airframes. Several went to the range at Nellis. They could not get a 1 time flight waver to ARMAC. If you google you can find pictures of CH-53Es carrying the F-4Gs to the range to be used as targets.
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Unread post15 Jan 2019, 00:39

A modern combat aircraft is too complicated to restart a spare part production, even if you wanted to.
By the time you could get the whole chain up and running, the conflict will be over.

During WW1 and 2, aircraft had 3 things. An airframe, an engine and some guns. Easy.

These days, you have to add a couple of hundred electronic boxes to get an airframe to return to "fighting status".

Stored airframes and engines can be returned to flying status and flown "over" their hrs if the situation calls for it.
But you need the electronic boxes to get it fighting again.

"Flying" and "fighting" are two completely different things these days.

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