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C-5M Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP)

C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (formerly referred to as the Propulsion Modernization program) is a follow-on program to C-5 AMP and was part of a multi-phase effort by the US Air Force (USAF) to modernize its fleet of 126 C-5 aircraft to achieve increased mission effectiveness and readiness. While the US government did not authorized funds for a new C-5 powerplant until 2003, the program moved ahead after an Analysis of Alternatives was completed in the summer of 1999. Lockheed Martin teamed with General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) to offer a new propulsion system anchored by the popular GE CF6-80C2 engine. Backed by more than 40 million hours in service, the CF6-80C2 engine was listed as being able to assure operators "like new" aircraft reliability and dramatically improved performance. With the CF6 engines, the C-5's initial cruise ceiling increased from 24,000 feet to 33,000 feet. Also, the new engines provided the C-5 with 22 percent greater takeoff thrust, 30 percent less takeoff roll, and 58 percent less time to climb than with the C-S's current TF39 engines while operating at a 17 percent derate. The re-engined aircraft is designed to meet FAR 36, Stage 3 noise requirements.

The need for a modernized, cost-effective, and reliable C-5 fleet had long been recognized. The C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP) was intended to significantly contribute to meeting established war-fighting strategic airlift requirements. Besides the Propulsion System replacement, improvements in structural integrity and an improved product support structure constituted a large step towards increasing fleet availability. Other hardware, operational, maintenance, and logistics management improvements would be considered to enhance reliability. The purpose of the Pre-EMD phase was to identify the most cost effective and operationally efficient solution.

Avionics capability required for modernization that was not complete at the end of AMP development was planned to be captured and funded in RERP, which is Phase II of the overall C-5 modernization program (which includes both the AMP and RERP). The C-5 modernization program was approved in FY04 to use the contractor supported weapon system (CSWS) support concept. Initial spares in support of CSWS would be purchased with 3010, BP11 funds instead of 3010, BP16 funds. This project was comprised of low technical risk efforts supporting fielded weapons systems and, therefore, was assigned to Budget Activity 7, Operational Systems Development.

RERP accounts for $11 billion of the overall upgrade cost. RERP was planned to be a comprehensive modernization effort to improve aircraft reliability, maintainability and availability. RERP would enable the C-5 to achieve wartime mission requirements by increasing fleet availability (mission capable rate, departure reliability) while reducing total ownership costs (TOC). The upgrades would enable the C-5 fleet to meet and likely exceed AMC's reliability goal of 75 percent. As of late 2005 C-5 reliability rested at slightly more than 60 percent.

The RERP effort centers around replacing TF39 engines with a more reliable, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) turbofan engine with increased takeoff thrust and stage three noise compliance. These new engines (along with new pylons, wing attach fittings and upgrades, and thrust reversers) would increase payload capability and access to communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) airspace. The modification would also decrease aircraft time to climb, increase engine-out climb gradient for takeoff, improve transportation system throughput, and decrease engine removals.

The C-5 required re-engining for three main reasons. The first was to eliminate the greatest source of non-mission capable rate for the C-5. The second reason was to enable the C-5 to meet Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) defined in the ORD. Finally, re-engining would provide the C-5 with an engine that would be technologically maintainable for its projected operational life. According to the ORD, the aircraft required a higher thrust propulsion system than that currently achieved with the TF39 system.

The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LMAC), Marietta, Georgia, competitively selected General Electric Aircraft Engines, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, to integrate a propulsion system that allowed the C-5 to meet time-to-climb requirements for access to GATM airspace. The new system also would insure optimum payload could be carried within takeoff climb gradient requirements and would meet Stage III Noise Pollution requirements. To this end, program managers identified and initiated plans to implement structural improvements to complement the power plant replacement and to assure that reliability enhancements kept the platform viable to the year 2040.

On 4 August 2000 the CF6-80C2L1F turbofan engine was selected by Lockheed Martin Corporation to power the C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP). This engine is a model of the highly successful CF6-80C2 engine family. The CF6 turbofan was selected to power the C-5M program based on its ability to provide an affordable, commercially based solution that enabled the venerable Super Galaxy to meet or beat every operational requirement foreseen into the next millennium. A 58% faster time-to-climb capability, 20% increase in cargo loads and 34% improvement in cost per flying hour were just three of the improvements obtained in using the CF6. As a side benefit, the new engine would be FAR 36, Stage III noise compliant. The C-5 RERP effort will lead to sales of more than 500 CF6-80C2L1F propulsion systems, plus service support from GE.

The engine system contained the core gas generator, high-pressure compressor section, diffuser/combustor, and high-pressure turbine, the low-pressure fan/turbine, and the integral components and systems necessary for control, monitoring, and safe operation. The components and systems included, but were not limited to, a fuel pump, fuel metering unit, fuel flow-meter, a lubrication system, an ignition system, instrumentation-sensor system, electrical system, control and monitoring system, and an accessory gearbox. The engine received functionality support from a number of internal systems. These included the Engine Assembly, Engine Fuel and Control System, Engine Oil System, Engine Ignition System, Engine Accessory Drive, and Engine Mount System. The Propulsion System also included the following subsystems: Throttle Quadrant, Fire Detection, Fire Extinguishing, Engine Vibration Monitoring System, Engine Start Panel, and the Nacelle Anti-Ice Panel.

This effort would allow the C-5 to meet the Break Rate of 10.5 per 100 sorties or less (Key Performance Parameter [KPP]). In addition, it also established the Fix Rate as follows: four-hour fix rate of no less than 30.1 percent; 12-hour fix rate of no less than 62.9 percent; and 24-hour fix rate of no less than 82.4 percent (KPP). The effort improved payload capability and time-to-climb to meet airspace requirements and to meet the minimum climb gradient at established wartime weights.

The increase in engine reliability to an estimated 10,000+ hours engine time on wing (based on commercial experience and warranty) resulted after Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (LM Aero), Palmdale, California, conducted competitive engine/pylon selection with AF oversight/monitoring. At the end of the fiscal year, the Air Force selected all major system suppliers at a total cost estimated at $10.3 billion. The System Design and Development (SDD) phase plans called for three aircraft to be upgraded (two C-5Bs, one C-5A). The total program consisted of 112 aircraft plus spare engines.

Additionally, numerous other system modifications would be performed (e.g., auxiliary power units, electrics, hydraulics, fuel system, fire suppression system, pressurization/air conditioning system, landing gear, and airframe) to increase fleet availability and reduce TOC.

The Operational Requirement Document (ORD) AMC 006-97-I/II/III, draft Rev#1, identified all the C-5 RERP threshold/objective parameters along with the Key Performance Parameters (KPP's). The contractor was directed to, at a minimum continue the trade study process to identify a sufficient number of improvement candidates to ensure all the KPP's were met. Identification of improvement items would continue until all threshold values have been met, unless there was strong justification of the unreasonableness of the threshold or it was shown to be cost or operationally prohibitive. Structural integrity improvements would be identified that were needed to ensure the integrity of the airframe beyond the year 2040.

The Government anticipated awarding a fixed-price contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LMAC) on or around 1 June 2001. The Air Force's minimum needs were only satisfied by one source, LMAC. As a result of a definition phase, which ended in September 1999, the C-5 DSO determined that full and open competition was not a viable alternative. The C-5 DSO also determined that it would not be cost effective to develop a second source for this effort. LMAC was the only aircraft manufacturer that has the existing capability to modernize the C-5 as they both owned and controlled the C-5 source data.

The C-5 Development Systems Office, Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) conducted an Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase and Production Phase of the C-5 Reliability Enhancements and Re-Engining Program (RERP). This ACAT ID program focused on the modernization of the full fleet of 126 C-5s starting with 50 C-5Bs. Beginning with no more than two C-5B aircraft in the EMD Phase, the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) would be:

  • Lot 1 (OT&E 2 C-5Bs)
  • Lot 2 (5 C-5Bs)
  • Lot 3 (7 C-5Bs)
  • Three production lots of 15, 15 and 4 each
The EMD Phase continued through FY06.

All LRIP and production lots would be firm fixed priced options. Also included as a potential option would be the installation of RERP on one C-5A aircraft and the required testing. The Air Force was anticipating a contract award in the 2nd Quarter of FY01.

Based on an independent technology readiness assessment conducted in October 2001, the C-5 RERP's technologies were declared mature. The new engines accounted for 64 percent of the expected improvement in mission capability rate for the aircraft. The new engines were commercial jet engines already being used on numerous aircraft. According to the Air Force technology assessment, these engines had over 70 million flying hours of use at the time.

On 05 December 2001 Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $1,115,000,000 (not-to-exceed) cost-plus-award-fee time and materials contract (F33657-02-C-2000) to provide for reliability enhancement and reengining, Systems Development and Demonstration [SDD] in support of the C-5 aircraft. The approved FY02 acquisition strategy called for the modification of the entire C-5 aircraft fleet starting with the 50 B-models first. System Development & Demonstration (SDD) initially included 1 C-5A and 2 C-5Bs. Four C-5B model aircraft, versus the two initially planned, received higher thrust General Electric CF6 engines under the SDD phase. The Air Force planned to upgrade the B models first, with the older A models to be upgraded later. At that time, the program to re-engine the entire fleet of 126 aircraft was estimated to cost between $7 billion and $9 billion by the year 2019. The Air Force SDD contract was scheduled the completion by May 2007 with Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) scheduled from January 2006 through May 2010. The C-5M production was scheduled to begin in January 2008 and continue through June 2013. The program acquisition strategy was to consider every opportunity to use commercially available components and processes to modernize C-5 products and processes to meet or exceed required system performance and support, so as to renew the weapon system until 2040.

The program acquisition strategy also sought to construct a government/industry partnership to identify solutions, assign responsibility, and execute to achieve AMC requirements. Fleet availability, ownership cost, and system performance would be used to balance solutions against program cost. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co has been selected as the prime contractor through a sole source arrangement. Lockheed selected General Electric (Powerplant), Goodrich (Pylon), and Honeywell (Avionics) as the major subcontractors.

Three RDT&E test articles were funded in FY04 for installation and flight test in FY05/06/07. RERP's Preliminary Design Review (PDR) was completed in January 2003 and the Air-vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR) was completed in March 2004.

Avionics capability required for modernization that is not complete at the end of AMP development would be captured and funded in RERP. The C-5 modernization program was approved in FY04 to use the contractor supported weapon system (CSWS) support concept. Initial spares in support of CSWS would be purchased with 3010, BP11 funds instead of 3010, BP16 funds. The project was comprised of low technical risk efforts supporting fielded weapons systems and, therefore, was assigned to Budget Activity 7, Operational Systems Development. As described above, RERP included a new start effort for avionics capability required for modernization, but which may not have been complete at the end of AMP development.

As of November 2003, 98 percent of the design drawings for the C-5 RERP, a measure of design stability, were complete. In addition, the seven major subsystem-level design reviews were completed before the December 2003 system-level design review.

The Production Phase started in FY04 and was planned to continue through FY10. A dedicated Qualification Operational Test and Evaluation (QOT&E) program was conducted prior to production of the remaining C-5B fleet. The contractor was required to provide and perform during the EMD Phase of the C-5 RERP, the following tasks:

  • System and subsystem design, development, procurement, manufacture, integration and test of the pre-production C-5 RERP systems hardware and software to demonstrate airworthiness of the air vehicle
  • Deliver data
  • QT&E activities
  • Support QOT&E activities
  • Maintenance support
  • Training services
  • Procure/design/manufacture depot support equipment
  • Develop and implement Logistics Support Plan
  • Reliability and maintainability program on C-5 RERP hardware system.

During the Production Phase of the C-5 RERP, the Contractor provided and performed the following tasks:

  • Procurement/manufacture/performance of functional and acceptance tests of C-5 RERP systems hardware and software
  • Develop/deliver data
  • Maintenance support and refurbishment of the thirty-four remaining C-5B aircraft
  • Training services
  • Modification aircrew training devices/maintenance training devices to reflect C-5 RERP configuration
  • Continue reliability and maintainability program on C-5 RERP configuration

The C-5 Systems Group (C5SG/PK) anticipated issuing, on or about 6 December 2005, a sole source solicitation to Lockheed Martin Corporation, 8 South Cobb Dr, Marietta, GA 30063-3000 for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) for the C-5M Reliability Enhancements and Re-engining Program (RERP). The LRIP for Lot 1 was changed to one aircraft and encompassed advance procurement of long lead items and options for fabrication and material, installation, initial spares, studies and analyses, rapid repair and response, and associated data. The period of performance for the long lead items was FY06 to FY09. Options for Lot 2 (3 aircraft, down from 5 initially planned) and Lot 3 (5 aircraft, down from 7 initially planned) would be added and would also include training. This acquisition was a follow on to System Development and Demonstration being performed on a sole source basis by Lockheed Martin Corporation (F33657-02-C-2000).

By March 2006 the RERP was in the system development and demonstration phase, and planned to enter low-rate production by December of that year. Between 2005 and 2006 the program experienced a 9-month schedule delay due to multiple issues including, pylon weight and redesign, asymmetric thrust reverser development problems, C-5 AMP delays, and wing rib web structure design and manufacture. The 9-month delay had cost the program an additional $45 million. In addition, budget reductions of almost $50 million were increasing the schedule risk of the program according the Government Accountability Office. Almost half of this money was shifted to the C-5 AMP to help that program complete software development activities. The remaining funds were cut by OSD because it appeared the program was under executing its funds. These cuts, along with the pylon development problems, forced the delay of the trainer program until FY08. Program officials were also considering aggressive steps, such as hiring additional workers and using multiple shifts, to address potential schedule increases.

Another issue reported by the GAO facing the RERP program was Berry Amendment compliance. RERP officials were monitoring negotiations between DOD and General Electric to bring General Electric into full compliance with the Berry Amendment, which requires certain metals used in military systems to be purchased from domestic sources. According to Air Force officials, General Electric expected to be in full compliance with the Berry Ammendment by January 2007, without impact to C-5 RERP.

The LRIP was planned to proceed before the system was flight tested. As of March 2007 the LRIP schedule had been pushed back until December of that year. The reason for the delay was that one of the major material suppliers refused to bring their production methods into compliance with the Berry Amendment (10 USC 2533a), which promotes the use of domestic resources. The supplier cited increase costs with using domestically obtained specialty metals and the risk that Berry Amendment compliance for the contract would adversely affect their global competitiveness. After considering a number of solutions US Air Force program managers decided to work to obtain a waiver for the supplier. This along with cost pressures relating to the CF6 engine also pushed back the planned awarding of the Long-Lead contract to April 2007, a fourteen month delay from the originally planned date.

In a March 2007 GAO report it was also noted that additional delays might be experienced in the RERP program because of delays and complications in the AMP program. Aircraft must be upgraded under the AMP program before being able to be upgraded under the RERP program. As of March 2007 the US Air Force did not have sufficient funds to upgrade 52 remaining aircraft under the AMP program.

By March 2008 the GAO had declared the C-5 RERP technologies mature and the design stable. The GAO did not assess production maturity because the Air Force was buying commercially available items. Despite the high degree of product knowledge, the program had faced a series of development and production issues between the 2007 and 2008 assessments. The RERP experienced a 1-year delay in starting low-rate initial production because of rising production costs. The program resolved complications related to a requirement that certain specialty metals be bought only from American sources. The Air Force notified Congress that program unit costs had increased over 50 percent, triggering a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost increase over the critical cost growth threshold. At the time of the review, DoD was examining options to meet its airlift requirements. There were also concerns about the contractor's ability to track costs and the funding needed to fix some C-5 AMP problems.

The program awarded a long-lead contract for Lot 1, which comprised one aircraft, in April 2007, 14 months later than planned. The primary causes of the delay were increased costs in producing engines and pylons and estimate revisions associated with the automation of production processes and material installation touch labor. During this delay, the Air Force granted a permanent waiver from the specialty metal provisions of the Berry Amendment, permitting the use of non-U.S. sources for certain specialty materials.

According to program officials, the program office and prime contractor have expended considerable effort in preparing the RERP for production. For example, a production readiness review had been conducted, three test aircraft were produced in the system development and demonstration phase, and the lessons learned were being applied to production plans. The program office was reviewing the contractor's proposal for low-rate initial production in preparation for award of Lot 1, with options for Lots 2 and 3, in April 2008. Final work to be accomplished included about 30 percent of flight test/verification points, flight test completion, a software verification review, and operational test and evaluation preparatory work.

However, the production program continued to be a major issue for the RERP as the costs to fund first-unit production and related expenses had increased by about 108 percent between 2007 and 2008. According to program officials, the prime contractor did not maintain long-term contracts with key suppliers that could have kept costs down and significantly underestimated the amount of touch labor needed to complete each aircraft. In addition, the C-5 RERP program would pay up to an additional $16 million to the prime contractor to address 4 deviation waivers and 24 deficiencies from the C-5 AMP.

Flight testing had been extended to August 2008, an increase of 8 months, to allow sufficient time for additional test points, reflights, weather, maintenance, and other factors. The low-rate initial production decision was scheduled for March 2008. Producing units before testing was able to demonstrate the design was mature and works in its intended environment was noted by the GAO to increase the likelihood of future costly design changes during production.

The Air Force reported a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost increase over the critical cost growth threshold because program costs had increased more than 50 percent. Air Force leadership was working with DoD and Congress to determine the most prudent course for the US strategic airlift fleet. Options included reducing the number of C-5 aircraft that would receive the RERP modification and procuring additional C-17 aircraft to fulfill the airlift mission.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency also identified significant deficiencies with the prime contractors' earned value management system that affected the Air Force's ability to oversee the cost aspects of the program.




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