The modernised Lockheed C-5M strategic airlifter has officially been declared “initially operational” by the US Air Force Air Mobility Command on 21 February 2014, after the 16th updated Galaxy arrived at Dover AFB, Delaware.
The so-called Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program upgrades make the C-5 quieter, enhance the aircraft’s reliability and maintainability, and are projected to reduce operating costs while increasing operational capability. The new General Electric CF6-80C2 engines (dubbed F108-GE-100 by the military) deliver 22 percent more thrust, 30 percent shorter takeoff distance, and a 58 percent faster climb while also reducing fuel consumption. With new engines and other system modernizations, upgraded C-5A, B and C models become C-5Ms, writes the AMC’s press spokesperson.
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is the technical term the C-5M is currently in, meaning it is combat-ready, but with restrictions to see if all crew, maintainers and the aircraft are doing well. It is a common thing to declare modernised or new aircraft types IOC first. Full Operational Capability (FOC) normally follows after 6 months to a year.
The US Air Force is the only user of the big aircraft, the single one in the US inventory that can carry all equipment that is classified as air transportable and therefore essential besides the smaller Boeing C-17A Globemaster III. The USAF hopes to get funds to update a further 36 C-5As and C-5Bs to the C-5M standard the coming years. The service also flies two C-5Cs on behalf of NASA from Travis AFB in California. The C-models are modified for the largest cargo like satellites.
Of the 81 C-5As and 50 C-5Bs built between 1968 and 1989, 37 A-models and 32 B-models are still flying.
Source: USAF AMC