What are these aerospace vehicles in storage at the Boneyard?
October 9, 2013 5:44 AM   Subscribe

What are the 13 aerospace vehicles in storage at "the boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base?

Lately I've seen articles about the new USAF cargo plane the C-27J Spartan going directly into storage at "the boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. I've also frequently seen the figures that there are 4400 aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles in the boneyard. I'm trying to figure out what the 13 aerospace vehicles are, but my Google-Fu is failing me.

Anybody know what those vehicles are? Lifting bodies? The Dyna-Soar? MOL? I'd email them and ask but it looks like a lot of those folks have been furloughed.
posted by Rob Rockets to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So far, I've found refrences to dismantaling ICBM's and "The 1980s -

In 1981 MASDC once again widened its role by taking on the responsbility of preserving TITAN II, THOR and ATLAS missiles used by the Space Division for its satellite launches. A new storage facility was added at Norton Air Force Base in California, specifically for this purpose. The centre's name was changed in October 1985 to the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Centre (AMARC) to underscore the dynamic aspect of its mission and the fact that it is an active industrial complex that primarily promotes the regeneration of aerospace assets. "

posted by Jacen at 6:03 AM on October 9, 2013

Try getting in touch with the folks at the Pima Air Museum. It's not a federal facility.
posted by carmicha at 6:26 AM on October 9, 2013

Maybe these delta looking things?
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:27 AM on October 9, 2013

You could always try sending the base a message on Facebook.
posted by Chairboy at 6:28 AM on October 9, 2013

It looks like there's a list at this unofficial site here, but I only see 'regular' airplanes.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:37 AM on October 9, 2013

The Delta looking things look like Martin Marietta X-24Bs, but the wikipedia page says they only made one.
posted by hardcode at 7:44 AM on October 9, 2013

I think the "aerospace vehicles" being referred to were Titan IIs. From the Wiki article:
After the two accidents in 1978 and 1980, respectively, deactivation of the Titan II ICBM system finally began in July 1982. The last Titan II missile, located at Silo 373-8 near Judsonia, Arkansas, was deactivated on May 5, 1987. With their warheads removed, the deactivated missiles were initially placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona and the former Norton AFB, California, but were later broken up for salvage in 2006.
There is a photo of a number of missile bodies sitting at AMARC.

My assumption is that the missiles at AMARC were kept around to support the Titan 23G space launcher program, in which surplus missiles were reconfigured for use as satellite launchers. That program ran through 2003.

I don't really know why, if they had more missiles sitting around, they didn't keep using those for satellite launches as well; it seems like that would be cheaper than building new-design launchers from scratch. But at any rate, since the last 23G launch was apparently in 2003, by 2006 it probably didn't make sense to keep the ones at AMARC sitting around for spares, and they were scrapped.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:05 AM on October 9, 2013

I think those delta looking things are drones for the D21 drones.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:28 AM on October 9, 2013

I think the answer is probably a missile of some sort, but if it was the Titan IIb's, then that number might be out of date. According to wikipedia:
Official Count: 108 Titan-2 'B' Series Vehicles were delivered to USAF: 49 Test launches, 2 Silo losses, 13 Space launches, 6 in museums, 37.5 destroyed at AMARC, +.5 (one second stage missing B-34) = 108.
I'm having a harder time finding a good accounting of other possible missiles, so I don't have any immediate alternatives to suggest.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:29 AM on October 9, 2013

These two missiles look like "aerospace vehicles"
posted by Big_B at 3:23 PM on October 9, 2013

Seconding that the delta things are D-21s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:00 PM on October 9, 2013

Thirding D-21's with confirm from a buddy who should know
posted by Jacen at 6:33 PM on October 9, 2013

Yes, looking at the nose cones I think you're all right, D-21s it is.
posted by hardcode at 1:05 AM on October 10, 2013

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