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49 C-5s approved for modernization program

by Roger Drinnon
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

2/19/2008 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- Air Mobility Command leaders welcomed the news that defense officials certified 49 of the Air Force's C-5 aircraft for upgrade in the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. The decision was made Feb. 14.

Continuing the C-5 RERP allows the Air Force to modify aircraft with better, newer structures along with defensive systems at an overall savings to the taxpayer. The objective of the RERP is to improve C-5 fleet reliability, availability and aircraft performance.

"The Air Force is obligated to provide the best fleet mix for the nation's strategic airlift needs, while ensuring a reasonable return on investment to the taxpayer," said Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, Air Mobility Command commander. "We support this decision to ensure we can continue to provide essential inter-theater, out-sized airlift capability to the joint warfighter."

Projected RERP cost overruns led the Air Force to submit a Nunn-McCurdy cost-breach declaration to Congress last year. Through that process, the Air Force recommended only 49 aircraft -- 47 C-5Bs used for inter-theater airlift duty and two C-5Cs used primarily for domestic missions supporting the space program -- be upgraded. Three C-5s already received the modernization upgrade.

The Air Force recommended against upgrading 59 A-models.

"It makes sense to not RERP the A-models from a stewardship perspective, since the A-models are the oldest, least reliable and most costly to maintain. There's no guarantee we'd get a return on investment with them," General Lichte said.

C-5s are operated by active-duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard crews. They are currently assigned to Dover AFB, Del.; Travis AFB, Calif.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.; Martinsburg ANGB, W.V.; Memphis ANGB, Tenn.; Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio and Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.

The Galaxy is one of the largest aircraft in the world and the largest airlifter in the Air Force inventory. It can carry more than any other airlifter--36 standard pallets and up to 81 troops simultaneously. The Galaxy also carries all of the Army's air-transportable combat equipment from the United States to any theater of combat on the globe. It can also carry outsize and oversize cargo intercontinental ranges and can take off or land in relatively short distances.

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