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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Strategic airlifter

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is the largest aircraft routinely operated by the US forces

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1969
Crew 7 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 75.54 m
Wing span 67.88 m
Height 19.85 m
Weight (empty) 169.6 t
Weight (maximum take off) 379.6 t
Engines and performance
Engines 4 x General Electric TF39-GE-1C turbofans
Traction 4 x 191.27 kN
Maximum speed 919 km/h
Cruising speed 869 km/h
Service ceiling 10.9 km
Range (with maximum payload) 5 526 km
Range (with with 54.4 t payload) 8 056 km
Ferry range 10 411 - 11 705 km
Payload
Maximum payload 118 t
Passengers 73 + 270
Vehicles 2 x M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 16 x HMMWV light utility vehicles or 10 LAV-25 light armored vehicles
Cargo compartment dimensions 36.8 x 5.8 x 4.1 m

 

   The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy heavy logistics transport, now supported by the Lockheed Martin Corporation, is the key of the US strategic airlift capability. The C-5's has a cavernous interior and roll-on/roll-off capability with access to cargo at both ends of the aircraft.

   The C-5A first flew on 30 June 1968, and the first operational aircraft was delivered on 17 December 1969 with the last following in May 1973. The C-5A suffered initially from wing crack problems and cost overruns, but has since served well. Between 1981 to 1987 a total of 77 of the 81 production C-5As received wings of virtually new design and with greater corrosion resistance.

   From 1986 to 1989, the production line was re-opened to manufacture 50 improved C-5Bs that incorporated modifications and improvements resulting from experience with the C-5A. The first C-5B was delivered to the US Air Force in 1986.

   The C-5A/B have a maximum payload capacity of 118 t and can carry it to a range of 5 526 km. The range can be extended by in-flight refueling. However during wartime a maximum payload of 132 t is allowed. The type provided the most ton-miles at the fastest speed of any American airlifter. The C-5 Galaxy is the largest aircraft routinely operated by US forces. This aircraft can carry two M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, 10 LAV-25 armored reconnaissance vehicles, 16 HMMWVs, or 7 UH-1 Huey helicopters. Alternatively it can carry 36 standard 463L pallets. A combination of vehicles and pallets can be carried. The C-5 can airlift 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, the C-5 can also drop paratroops.

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

   The C-5C designation is applied to two aircraft modified with sealed front visor and strengthened interior for the carriage of satellites and space equipment. These two aircraft are operated by the US Air Force and NASA.

   Unfortunately the C-5 aircraft have suffered from serious reliability problems that resulted in low mission capable rates. Availability was rearly above 50%. Notably the C-5s had unreliable engines. Furthermore the USAF addressed the shortfall in airlift capacity as a result of the C-141's retirement. Major upgrades were required to keep the C5 fleet operational until 2030. It was planned that around 125 aircraft would receive new digital automatic flight controls, new cockpit displays and new communications and navigation equipment. In 1998 avionics modernization on C5 aircraft  began. In 2000 the USAF selected the General Electric F138-GE-100 (CF6-80C2L1F) turbofan to initially re-engine the 50 youngest C-5Bs. Re-engening program began in 2006.

   The C-5A/Bs aircraft equiped Air Mobility Command, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard Units. At least two C-5As were assigned to Air Forces Special Operations Command and had a special forces role. Strategic airlift capability has been a key logistical component of the US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

   The C-5M Super Galaxy is the latest upgraded version of the older C-5A, C-5B and C-5C aircraft. The first aircraft was upgraded to the C-5M 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 22 aircraft delivered. Deliveries are planned to be completed in 2018. The Super Galaxy is fitted with new engines and as a result has significantly improved payload capacity and has longer range. It was planned that by 2017-2018 the US Air Force will reduce its C5 fleet to 52 Super Galaxy aircraft and the previous C5A, C5B and C5C will be retired.

 

Variants

 

   C-5A, original production version. It was produced between 1969 to 1973. A total of 81 aircraft were delivered;

   C-5B an improved production version. It has improved wings, upgraded engines, updated avionics and simplified landing gear. It was produced from 1986 to 1989. The first C-5B was delivered in 1986. A total of 50 aircraft were delivered to US Air Force;

   C-5C a specially modified variant for transporting large cargo. It can accommodate larger loads, such as satellites. Only two aircraft were modified to this standard. These are operated by US Air Force for NASA;

   C-5M Super Galaxy in an upgraded version of the older C-5A, C-5B and C-5C aircraft. Upgrades include new General Electric F138-GE-100 commercial engines, upgrading avionics, new autopilot system, upgraded landing gear, and other improvements. Due to new engines the Super Galaxy can carry more cargo (130 t) and has longer range, as well as 30% shorter take-off and 38% higher climb rate. The first aircraft was upgraded to the C-5M 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.

 

Video of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy strategic transport aircraft

 
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

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