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Improved C-5 promises more faithful years of service

by Laura McGowan
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

5/17/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- At a roll-out ceremony May 16 at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta, Ga., the Air Force accepted delivery of the first C-5M Galaxy, the first of 111 that will undergo modernization at the facility, extending the fleet’s life by more than 25 years. 

The Aeronautical Systems Center’s C-5 Systems Group oversees the C-5’s modernization process and supports the Air Force’s priorities of recapitalizing and modernizing faster while cutting costs. 

“I can’t wait for first flight and the chance to hear the sound of our new, more powerful, yet quieter airplane,” said Col. Kevin Keck, C-5 Systems Group commander. 

The enhanced airlifter will add to capability to move cargo and people.

“The bottom line is that we need these machines,” said Gen. Norton Schwartz, commander of U.S. Transportation Command. “We need them re-engined and out of maintenance just as fast as possible. What you’re doing is proving its worth and raising the C-5’s mission-rate. 

The ceremony was a milestone for the program and the Air Force. 

“This C-5M is the first of a new fleet of C-5s that truly raises the bar," said Ralph Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin and president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.  "Capability is guaranteed, cost saving is guaranteed, and most importantly, reliability is guaranteed.”  

The aircraft “represents a capability unique to the United States, and is an asset that truly defines ‘global reach,’” he said. “Today’s C-5M takes a proven airframe and injects 21st century technology, and the result is a new era in strategic airlift.” 

A Lockheed Martin spokesman said the C-5M features the commercially proven CF6 General Electric engine. The engine delivers a 22 percent increase in thrust, a 30 percent shorter take-off roll and a 38 percent higher climb to initial altitude, allowing significantly more cargo to be carried over longer distances.

The C-5 avionics modernization program adds a modern cockpit with a digital, all-weather flight control system and autopilot, a new communications suite, flat-panel displays and enhanced navigation and safety equipment to ease crew workload and enhance situational awareness. 

“These great new aircraft have state-of-the art capability and elevated performance and yet, in large measure, are hand-built,” Colonel Keck said. “It’s a special weapon system built with the personal care of the great men and women here at Lockheed Martin.” 

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