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Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger's presentation of President Reagan's rearmament requests to the House Military Appropriations Subcommittee on 19 March 1981 favored procurement of the Advanced Tanker Cargo Aircraft, which became the KC-10, and the C-X transport. In the following months, some members of the House Appropriations Committee objected to the C-X program, favoring instead an existing wide-bodied aircraft such as the C-5, the DC-10 (precursor of the advanced tanker), or a modified Boeing 747. Before the end of 1981, however, the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation received a contract for the C-X, which became the C-17. Procurement of the C-5B, an improved version of the C-5A, also came under serious consideration; and Lockheed, in effect, reopened the C-5 assembly line, incorporating in the new version the modifications added to the original.

The improvements that strengthened the structure of the C-5A were incorporated in the new version of the Galaxy. The first C-5B, incorporating significant improvements such as updated avionics, was delivered to Altus Air Force Base in January 1986. C-5 production concluded with delivery of the last "B" model aircraft in April 1989.

The 436th Supply Squadrons, Fuels Management Flight, Dover AFB, DL, team performs their missions with the 436th Special Operations Squadron. These missions are flown on the newest version of the C-5. The C-5B has the improved upgrade radar systems, allowing the aircraft to fly in adverse weather, making it invaluable in the Special Operations Low Level role. One other benefit of the C-5B is its ability to perform a six-point FARP operation, where six helicopters can be refueled simultaneously by connect ing three hoses to each wing of the C-5, then connecting the ends of the hoses to each helicopter.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:28:46 ZULU