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Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:04 am

This cannot be answered completely, as each airframe is different. But my quesition is, if we have a B-52, a F-4 or a F-104 as a "gate-guard" at the entrance of a military base, what is usally kept in these airframes? Are the engines removed? I guess classified material is, as are ammunition and guns, but could these airplanes be made airworthy again if somebody was interested in them?

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RE: Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:50 am

There are standards (much like MILSPECS) that detail what must be done to "de-mil" a weapons system. What you see at the entrances to these installations are basically hulks. Now...if you could get into a bone yard, that would be different!
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RE: Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:51 am

Gate guards are, by definition, pretty much gutted. Engines, guns, hydraulics, busses, ejection seats, instruments, armament hardware, all of it is stripped- usually back into the active inventory. It even goes so far as to taking out control surface linkages, etc etc. We have an F/A-18 on display here at Cecil Field that, until recently, Boeing was sneaking over to and opening panels to steal little parts here and there- apparently scavenging can go on for quite awhile.

If anyone wanted to make them airworthy again, you'd have to go back and lay thousands of feet of wires, add all the systems again, engines/seats, etc etc....why do that when we have tons of F-4's and whatnot at AMARC, that can be had for relatively cheap Big grin

I had a look inside an A-7 that was guarding a base for many years, the cockpit was nothing more than, well, a pit...the engine compartment was barren, the wing stations were gutted (nothing but the pylon), the radar was out, avionics shelves empty, etc have to shed alot of weight especially if you plan to put it on a stick.

We have an F-102, F-106, and F-15 on display here at Florida ANG base JAX...the 102 still has a seat oddly enough, but the others just have their ejection seat rails remaining, and nothing but hollow insides to show for it. There's an F-16 on the ramp right now that's being gutted for the gate as well, if I was allowed to get some photos of the de-mil for you, I would  Smile

Next time you get up next to a static (assuming noone is around), try to open a out for hornet's nests and'll find pretty much nothing, even the boarding ladder is usually taken off.

"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
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RE: Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:59 am

Quoting DeltaGuy (Reply 2):

Cool, thank you for your posts... Just recently Germany was selling an old F-104 which was a gate-guard at a Navy Base which was closed, so it had to be removed... Unfortunately it was only for sale to museums, and even if it wasn't, I wouldn't have had money to buy it, but this would be a cool thing to have...
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RE: Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:34 am

When this C-130A became the first display in NSA's National Vigilance Park, it remained relatively intact, including the engines. Any components that were removed were needed as spares for the at-the-time (1998) couple of still-flying 130 "A" models. Those parts included many of the cockpit instruments, the oil coolers, and the rudder pedals (although I suspect that the rudder pedals may have been taken solely because they were adorned with the classic Lockheed "shooting star" emblem!). When the wings and vertical stab were reattached after moving the plane to its permanent display location, no attempt was made to reconnect controls or the hydraulic and electrical lines.

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RE: Gate-guards, What's Kept Inside?

Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:29 pm

Two anecdotes regarding Gate Guards...
The term "Gate Guard" as most aviation enthusiasts know it is not the same in official USAF parlance. The term "static display" is the official verbage. A buddy and I were visiting a base in Texas as part of a reunion hosted by a local squadron. During the picnic, my friend walked over to the main gate to ask permission to photograph the Gate Guards. The security police couldn't imagine why anyone would want to take their picture. I may have misread their non-verbals but they seemed a little down when they finally figured out that he wanted to photograph the aircraft on display. This was long before there was the concern for surveilance on security checkpoints.

The second was at a small VFW Post that had an F-105F on display. I travelling around the eastern half of the United States doing aerial photography. This was a great job for visiting neat airports, airshows, and air museums between assignments. As part of my USAF Museum volunteer work, I would report on how the collection was maintained away from the main museum. Part of my aviation history hobby was photographing these planes anyway. This plane was airlifted direct from the airport to the VFW with the seats still intact. In fact, the post had been using residual fuel from the tanks for heating.

Some planes are filled with concrete to keep from flying off the pedestal. I first heard of this in relation to the F-102 outside the 26th Air Division at Luke AFB in 1981. Otherwise, they are stripped as much as possible to not weigh too heavy on their mounting.
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