Lockheed Martin has completed the C-5M modernisation program with the delivery of the 52nd Super Galaxy to the US Air Force. The strategic transport — modernized under the USAF’s Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program — was handed over to the service at the company’s Marietta, Georgia facility on August 2 .
The delivery completes the RERP upgrade, which extends the service life of the C-5 fleet out until the 2040s.
“With the capability inherent in the C-5M, the Super Galaxy is more efficient and more reliable, and better able to do its job of truly global strategic airlift,” said Patricia Pagan, Lockheed Martin Air Mobility and Maritime Missions Strategic Airlift director. She added: “I am very proud of the contractor-government team than carried out the C-5 fleet modernization effort. We’ve worked very hard to ensure the C-5Ms are the absolute best strategic airlifters possible for our armed forces.”
An Air Force Reserve Command aircrew from the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover ARB, Massachusetts ferried the final C-5M to Stewart AAFB, New York, where the aircraft will undergo interior paint restoration. Once that work is complete, the aircraft will be flown to Westover where it will be the eighth C-5M assigned to the base.
Lockheed Martin began RERP development work in 2001. RERP incorporates more than 70 improvements that improve reliability, efficiency, maintainability, and availability. RERP included changes or modifications to the airframe structure, environmental and pneumatic systems, hydraulic systems, electrical system, fuel system, landing gear, and flight controls.
The heart of the system is the GE F138 turbofan engine (known as a CF6-80C2L1F in the commercial world) de-rated to 50,000lb of thrust on the C-5M. This engine provides 22 per cent more thrust than the out-of-production TF39 turbofans on the earlier C-5A/B/C aircraft. The engines also allow the C-5M to meet the FAA’s Stage 4 noise reduction requirements.
These changes, taken together, result in a 22 per cent increase in thrust, a shorter takeoff roll, a 58 per cent improvement in climb rate, allows the C-5M to cruise — at maximum gross weight — in the Communication/Navigation/Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) flight environment, greatly enhanced fuel efficiency, and less tanker support demand.
First flight of a modified aircraft to the C-5M standard came in Marietta, Georgia on June 19, 2006. The first operational C-5M was delivered to Dover AFB, Delaware on February 9, 2009. A total of 49 C 5Bs, two C-5C aircraft, and one original C-5A were modified under RERP.
The C-5M holds 89 FAI-certified world aviation records, the most by any aircraft type. These records include time-to-climb with payload, altitude with payload, and greatest payload carried.
The C-5 Galaxy has been operated solely by the USAF since 1970 and is the largest strategic airlifter in the U.S. Air Force’s fleet. The C-5 is capable of carrying two 78-ton M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks or helicopters and other large equipment intercontinental distances. Fully loaded, a C-5 has a gross weight of more than 800,000 pounds. All C-5s were built at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta site.
In addition to Westover, C-5Ms are assigned to active-duty and Air Force Reserve Command units at Dover AFB, Delaware (436th and 512th Airlift Wings) and Travis AFB, California (60th and 349th Air Mobility Wings). The C-5 aircrew training squadron is part of the 433rd AW, the Reserve wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.