The Boneyard Tally

The first production F-15E Strike Eagle, serial number 86-0183, arrived at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., for storage on Dec. 18, 2014. The aircraft ended its 28-year career as a demonstrator for Boeing's proposed F-15SE Silent Eagle. 309th AMARG photo.

Arie Church

Oct. 29, 2015: The Air Force’s oldest C-130 and C-5 fleets made up the bulk of aircraft retired to the boneyard this past fiscal year, according to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group’s inventory numbers for Fiscal 2015.

The Air Force placed a total of 53 aircraft into storage in FY15, almost half of which were legacy C-130 variants that are being replaced by new-build C-130Js as part of the service’s overall C-130 recap. A total of 26 Hercs, including 11 MC-130H/P special operations aircraft, six HC-130P search and rescue tankers, four C-130Hs, and ?several gunships landed at the boneyard.

Air Force Special Operations Command divested its last four AC-130H models, as well as a single modified AC-130U in a non fleet-standard configuration, completing gunship divestitures until new AC-130Js begin entering the inventory.

The Air Force retired a total of nine C-5As as part of its ongoing effort to eliminate the C-5A fleet and upgrade the remaining C-5B/C fleet to C-5M Super Galaxy standards.

AFSOC also shed the bulk of its C-145 Skytruck fleet, dispatching eight airframes to Davis-Monthan this year.

Fighter cuts included seven F-16Cs, one A-10C, and the first production F-15E Strike Eagle, serial number 86-0183, which Boeing operated as its Silent Eagle demonstrator. The E-8C JSTARS testbed, as well as the Air Force’s lone C-20K communications integration aircraft, and a T-43 loaned to industry for development work also arrived for storage.

NATO handed over the first of three E-3A AWACS it plans to retire as part of a fleet reduction to the 309th AMARG this past summer. Several airframes, including a B-52H loss replacement, several C-27Js bound for the Coast Guard, and a number of F-16s converted as QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Targets, were refurbished for return to service.