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C5M Super Galaxy

Strategic airlifter

C5M Super Galaxy

The C5M Super Galaxy is the largest aircraft operated by the US forces

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 2014
Crew 7 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 75.53 m
Wing span 67.91 m
Height 19.84 m
Weight (empty) 172 t
Weight (maximum take off) 381 t
Engines and performance
Engines 4 x General Electric F138-GE-100 turbofans
Traction 4 x 220 kN
Maximum speed 975 km/h
Cruising speed 950 km/h
Service ceiling ~ 11 km
Range (with maximum payload) ~ 6 000 km
Range (with 54.4 t payload) 9 720 km
Ferry range 12 960 km
Payload
Maximum payload 130 t
Troops 73 + 270
Vehicles 2 x M1A2 Abrams MBTs, 10 x LAV-25s, or 16 HMMWVs
Cargo compartment dimensions 36.8 x 5.8 x 4.1 m

 

   The Lockheed Martin C5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version of the older C5A, C5B and C5C military transport aircraft. A total of 131 C5 series aircraft were delivered until 1989. These transport aircraft suffered from serious reliability problems that resulted in low mission capable rates. Availability was rearly above 50%. Furthermore with the retirement of the Lockheed C141 StarLifter the US Air Force (USAF) faced the shortfall in airlift capacity. Major upgrades were required to keep the C5 fleet operational. The first aircraft was upgraded to the C5M standard in 2006 and its test flights began during the same year. A modernization order for 52 C5 aircraft was issued and low-rate production commenced in 2009. The Super Galaxy reached initial operating capability in 2014 with 16 aircraft delivered. By 2015 a total of 30 aircraft were upgraded. Deliveries were scheduled to be completed in 2018. It was planned that by 2017-2018 the US Air Force will reduce its C5 fleet to 52 Super Galaxy aircraft, while non-upgraded C5As, C5Bs and C5Cs will be retired. It is planned that the C5M Super Galaxy will remain operational until 2030.

   The C5M is the largest aircraft routinely operated by the US forces. Actually it is one of the largest military transport aircraft in the world. Only Antonov An-124 and one-off An-225 are bigger. Furthermore the C5M Super Galaxy is the only true strategic airlifter of the USAF, capable of linking America directly to all theaters of combat without refueling. On longer missions the smaller C17 Globemaster III transport aircraft has to be refueled weather in flight or on friendly air bases. The Super Galaxy is mainly used for long-range logistical operations.

   On 13th September 2009 the C5M aircraft set 41 new world records.

   Upgrades of the C5M includes new General Electric F138-GE-100 (CF6-80C2L1F) commercial engines, upgraded avionics, new autopilot system, upgrades to landing gear, and other improvements. The previous C5A/B Galaxy aircraft have suffered from serious reliability problems that resulted in low mission capable rates. The C5M upgrade addressed some of the issues. Failure rates and maintenance hours reportedly reduced by more than half. Engine reliability reportedly increased tenfold. Still though the C5M Super Galaxy is much more troublesome and expensive to maintain than the smaller C17 Globemaster III.

   Due to new engines the Super Galaxy is faster and can carry more cargo. It has a maximum payload capacity of 130 t. The original production version, the C5A Galaxy, could carry 118 t. Furthermore due to newer engines the Super Galaxy has a longer range, as well as 30% shorter take-off and 38% higher climb rate.

   The C5M has cavernous interior. The cargo hull is 36.8 m long, 5.8 m, and 4.1 m wide. The Super Galaxy has a roll-on/roll-off capability with access to cargo at both ends of the aircraft. It can carry two M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, 10 LAV-25 armored reconnaissance vehicles or 16 HMMWVs. Alternatively it can carry 36 standard 463L pallets, or a combination of vehicles and pallets. The C-5 can also carry a combat ready military unit. The upper deck accommodates 73 passengers. The lower deck can be configured for transportation of 270 troops. Although not usually assigned airdrop duties, it can also drop paratroops.

   The Super Galaxy aircraft has an impressive range. With 54 t of cargo it can travel more than 9 700 km. Furthermore this military transport can be refueled during flight. Interestingly this military transport carries a whooping 150 t of fuel.

   This military transport is operated by a crew of 7, including two pilots, two flight engineers, and three loadmasters.

 

 
C5M Super Galaxy

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C5M Super Galaxy

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C5M Super Galaxy

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C5M Super Galaxy

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C5M Super Galaxy

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C5M Super Galaxy

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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