The Air Force is demolishing the Cold War-era fuel storage tanks at Beale AFB, Calif., that supported the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft that formerly operated from the base. Workers have already removed three of the five massive tanks that held the airplanes’ JP-7 jet fuel; they are scheduled to demolish the remaining two in the coming months, states Beale’s July 22 release. Each of the tanks held between 400,000 gallons and 657,000 gallons of fuel, according to the release. “They’re kind of historic structures,” said Robert Nordhal, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron flight chief of programs at Beale. “We just don’t have the need for high-capacity fuel storage anymore,” he said. This demolition project is a part of the service’s “20/20 by 2020” initiative that aims to reduce excess capacity by decreasing the base’s footprint as well as its operating costs by 20 percent by 2020, according to the release. Beale officials are rechanneling the money generated by recycling the scrap metal from the tanks to defray the demolition project’s costs. (Beale report by SSgt. Robert M. Trujillo)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.