Planning space rocket travel to Mars – like the UAE announced on 16 July 2014 – sounds like a lot of fun, but for now we just settle for the 21st Super Galaxy we could get our hands on. This Lockheed Martin C-5M with serial 87-0044 started its delivery flight from the company’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, to its new home Travis Air Force Base in California on 16 July 2014.
First stop however is Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York. Here the modernised aircraft undergo internal paint restoration. Once delivered it will be Travis’s third Super Galaxy.
The modernisation of the Lockheed C-5As, Bs and Cs – the biggest military airlifters of the Western world – started in 1998. The updates include management systems, better communication gear, new flat planel displays, improved navigation equipment, a new autopilot, new General Electric F138-GE-100 (CF6-80C2) engins, refurbished frame and skin, new landing gear, additional cockpit and pressurization systems and much more.
The new power plant gives the plane 22 percent more thrust per engine, enabling the C-5M to take off from 30% shorter runways and giving it a 38% higher rate of climb. Moreover, the maximum payload had been increased to 285,000 lbs (129,274 kg) and the range is suppose to better as well. Super Galaxy’s are normally manned by a crew of seven.
A total of 131 C-5s were built, with the introduction into service of the first C-5A in June 1970. The type only flies with the US Air Force, while the Russian Air Force, Ukraine and several civilian cargo operators have the somewhat similar but bigger Antonov AN-124 Ruslan. During its operational history X C-5s crashed: on 27 September 1974 after over-running the runway at Clinton – Oklahoma Municipal Airport, on 4 April 1975 at Tan Son Nhut Air Base Saigon with the loss of 144 people out of the 313 aboard, on 31 July 1983 at Shemya in Alaska, on 29 August 1990after an engine failure shortly after take-off from Ramstein Air Base in Germany in support of Operation Desert Shield killing its nine-member crew and on 3 April 2006 while attempting an emergency landing at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The 21st C-5M was delivered only 2.5 weeks after the 20th Super Galaxy left the nest for Travis, on 30 June 2014. A total of 52 Super Galaxy strategic airlifters are scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force.
Source: Lockheed Martin / USAF / NYT