The US Air Force received its 24th Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy on 12 February 2015. Aircraft 86-0022 was ferried by a USAF crew to Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, where it will undergo internal paint restoration before arriving at its home Travis AFB in California.
It will be the sixth of these aircraft for Travis, where they serve together with the older C-5B and C-5C Galaxy airlifters of the 22nd Airlift Squadron of the 60th Air Mobility Wing. The C-5 is the biggest Western made military airlifter and can carry six heavily armoured vehicles or five helicopters. It has a length of 247.8 feet (75.5 m), a wingspan of 222.8 feet (67.9 m) and can carry up to 285,000 lbs (129,274 kg) of cargo that can be loaded both through a huge door in the front as well as the cargo ramp in the aft.
The so-called Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program upgrades make the Super Galaxy quieter than its older predecessors, 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 with most of them having enough structural service life left to fly up to 2040.
The USAF is upgrading 52 older C-5As and C-5Bs to the C-5M standard. Of the 81 C-5As and 50 C-5Bs built between 1968 and 1989, 37 A-models and 32 B-models are still flying. The two C-5Cs at Travis are flown on behalf of NASA and are modified to carry cargo like satellites.
Source: Lockheed Martin
Featured image: The 24th C-5M taking off from Travis to go to the paint shop on the other side of the continental USA.
(Image © Andrew McMurtrie / Lockheed Martin)