January 07, 2008

And the planes all went down

Check this picture. Go ahead, I'll wait ...

... Done?

Those are hundreds of obsolete US military aircraft, laid out in rows at the David-Monthan AFB in Tucson. This is one of several aircraft "graveyards" across the desert southwest. Earlier we saw one in mojave, home to some 40 or so civilian planes. That place, we could not get close to. But in Tucson, the road we take drives alongside the base's fence, and a short stone's throw away are the planes. (Not that we tried to throw stones, you do understand).

I mean, big transport craft. Bombers. What I think are F16s, or Phantoms (are they the same?). An odd little trainer jet, with a bulbous nose and a short body and a periscope-looking thingie jutting out from the nose. Laid out in nice, precise rows that cover the space from here to what seems like forever. All in the low late evening sun, tinged with gold.

I mean, they could outfit some serious air forces with just the hardware that's mothballed here. "Here you go", I imagine some official saying, "A couple hundred planes for you, another couple hundred for you over there."

Why not do it? Maybe it's cheaper to let them sit here. For me, that's good, because I've never seen anything like this.

Though what happens to India's old military aircraft?


Anonymous said...

we indians fly them till they fall from the sky...

Anonymous said...

dilip, the USAF did outfit the Singapore RAF with old aircrafts. Guess who Singapore hired to repair those broken flying machines ? Yes, good old IAF personnel! 100s of Indian Air Force's aircraft technicians from HAL were recruited for 2-year stints by the RAF to repair whatever junk the USAF had sold to Singapore. Ofcourse entire Singapore is smaller than the city of Bangalore, wonder why they need an Air Force at all. My dad was one of those IAF technicians who repaired these broken USAF planes for RAF. As a kid, I stayed at the Singapore Air Force base & watched them paint over the USAF logo with the Singapore emblem. Fun times.

Anonymous said...

Phantoms= F-4 !=F-16