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The EUR25bn jet cemetery; 'BONEYARD' FROM SPACE.

Byline: EMILY NASH

IT'S the most valuable scrapyard in history - a jet cemetery containing thousands of warplanes that's worth a massive EUR25.7billion.

The Boneyard - a vast recycling centre for military planes in the Arizona desert - has been captured in stunning high-resolution detail for the first time on this Google Earth satellite photo.

Officially, it is called the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, home to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.

But The Boneyard is a more apt name for a spot that will be the final resting place for most of the 4,000 aircraft parked there. They include outdated bombers, fighters, drones, helicopters, training planes and cargo aircraft belonging to the US Air Force, Navy, Army and the Coast Guard.

Among them are dismantled Vietnamera B-52s, F14 Tomcats as seen in the 80s movie Top Gun and A-10 Thunderbolt tank busters - known as Warthogs Hundreds of maintenance staff swarm over them every day, stripping them of engines, electronics, munitions and wiring. They are either recycled or stored away. The desert is so dry that damage from rust is kept to a minimum. Even so, some of the rarer aircraft are vacuum-sealed to preserve parts needed in the future.

Most of the aircraft at the 60-year-old site will simply be used to donate parts to planes still flying. But some may be reconditioned and fitted with new electrics and safety systems to allow them to be called back into active duty - saving the US military cash.

The huge airfield near Tucson has also been used as a location for several Hollywood films, including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

HISTORY

THE Boneyard was first established in 1946 - to store B-29 bombers and C-47 transport planes

HERITAGE

SOME of the old aircraft belong to museums, such as the Smithsonian National Air

HI-FLIERS

OVER 25 years, around 21% of the Boneyard aircraft have been returned to flying status

Tucson, Arizona Yesterday

CAPTION(S):

BOMBER America's B52 Stratofortress CROCKS Old aircraft in resting place
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2010
Words:331
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