These Legacy Hornets Have Just Arrived At Davis-Monthan AFB’s “Boneyard”

A VFC-12 Hornet in adversary livery at Davis-Monthan AFB. (All images: AMARG/USAF).

Some F/A-18A+/C Hornet jets have recently arrived at the 309th AMARG.

VFA-34 “Blue Blasters”, the last remaining F/A-18C Hornet squadron in the U.S. Navy, bid farewell to the “Legacy Hornet” at their home base at NAS Oceana, Virginia, on Feb. 1, 2019. The retirement of the last operational “Legacy Hornets” at NAS Oceana, Virginia, did not mark the end of U.S. F/A-18A+/C/D operations: “Legacy Hornets” remain in service with the U.S. Marine Corps that plans to fly the F/A-18Cs until they are replaced by the F-35B STOVL variant Lightining II stealth aircraft (as well as some F-35Cs for operations aboard U.S. Navy flattops) while some F/A-18A+ Hornets (where “+” designates aircraft equipped with AN/APG-73 radars instead of the original AN/APG-65) will continue to serve in the fleet adversary support role with the Reserve as part of VFC-12 from NAS Oceana and VFA-204 from NAS New Orleans Joint Reserve Base.

The Blue Angels will also continue flying their Legacy Hornets while transitioning to the Super Hornets.

Meanwhile, some U.S. Navy F/A-18A+ and C have been delivered to Davis-Monthan AFB, near Tucson, Arizona, where the aircraft will be kept in storage by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG)  at the local “Boneyard”.

Photos of these aircraft were recently published by the 309th AMARG on their web page.

Here they are:

A F/A-18A Hornet of the VFC-12.
A U.S. Navy VFA-106 “Gladiators” F/A-18C.
An F/A-18A of the U.S. Marine Corps VMFA-115.
Another F/A-18C of the “Gladiators”.
The flight line with the most recent Hornet additions, including the F/A-18C of the VFC-12 “Fighting Omars” in Flanker-like color scheme.
Another seemingly polished F/A-18C belonging to the NAS Fallon’s NAWDC (Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center).

Some of the new aircraft appear in really good conditions: they will be cocooned in special materials just in case someone needs them to be put back into service. Something that is useful every now and then. For instance, back in 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps pulled some 30 Legacy Hornets from AMARG and rushed them to service in order to complement its fleet active F/A-18A/B/C/Ds.



“The Air Force’s Boneyard” is a facility that “has transcended its traditional role of storage and is now a proven source of repair, refurbishment and modification for weapon systems worldwide–a National-Level Air Power Reservoir meeting our nation’s warfighting needs,” the official description of the Unit’s mission states.

“Five mission elements make up AMARG’s support for joint, allied and coalition warfighters; aircraft storage and preservation, aircraft parts reclamation, aircraft regeneration, aircraft disposal, and limited depot-level maintenance.”

About David Cenciotti 3843 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.