KGUN 9News


Regenerating aircraft at the Boneyard

Posted at 2:52 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 00:43:02-04
While the Boneyard is used to store military aircraft, one of its missions is to regenerate planes.
In fiscal year 2015, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) regenerated 54 aircraft. 
In a new maintenance hangar built in December, crews are working on a project to regenerate F-16 Fighting Falcons. 
"It's quite an extensive amount of work, 5,000 hours worth," said Timothy Gray, the deputy director of AMARG.
The older model planes are from the Air Force and our allies, Gray said, and have been in storage for years. The planes are being torn apart, given necessary upgrades and brought back to flying status to be used for training. Gray says they'll be used as aerial targets, drones shot down for training missions.
"They put a fly by wire kit in this, we regenerate the aircraft," Gray said. "It flies for about 300 hours and then pilots get to go air to air and blast these out of the sky."
AMARG has been regenerating drone aircraft since 1972, Gray said. The F-16 is similar to foreign aircraft the U.S. might have to go up against, Gray says, and the aerial training is the most realistic pilot training you can get.
"They are already proficient and highly trained individuals, this is like the icing on the cake," Gray said.
F-16's were developed in the 1970's, Gray said, and there are currently about 5,000 of them flying around the world. The warplanes played a role in Operation DESERT STORM in the 1990's.
Once the F-16's are upgraded, they will be flown to Florida, Gray said.