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C-5M Super Galaxy

The US Air Force is upgrading its C-5 aircraft with new engines and modernized avionics to improve fleet reliability and mission capability rates. The January 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review stated that the Defense Department would complete the C-17 multiyear contract with 180 aircraft, and proceed with C-5 modernization efforts. The Department planned to acquire and modernize a fleet of 292 inter-theater airlifters (180 C-17s and 112 modernized and reliability-enhanced C-5s). The Department's Mobility Capabilities Study (MCS) examined the mobility force structure needed to support the National Defense Strategy. The MCS found that programmed mobility forces were capable of deploying and sustaining combat forces called for. To achieve the characteristics of the future joint mobility force and build on progress to date, the Department will also recapitalize the tanker fleet to ensure global mobility and power projection.

One of the largest aircraft in the world, the C-5 Galaxy carries fully equipped combat-ready military units anywhere in the world on a moment's notice and then provides field support to maintain the fighting force. The C-5 transports outsize and oversize cargo, taking off fully loaded within 8,300 feet, landing within 4,900 feet. Nose and aft doors permit simultaneous cargo loading and unloading, and a "kneeling" landing gear system lowers the parked aircraft to truck-bed height in order to assist with loading/unloading. Full width drive-on ramps accommodate double rows of vehicles. The aircraft also features a system, with more than 800 test points, that records and analyzes information and detects malfunctions.

Similar in appearance to the C-141 Starlifter, the C-5 features the high T-tail, 25-degree wing sweep, and four TF39 turbofan engines, rated at 43,000 pounds of thrust each, mounted on two pylons beneath each wing. The Galaxy's 12 internal wing tanks hold 51,150 gallons of fuel. With a full load of fuel and a full cargo load, the C-5 can travel 2,150 nautical miles, offload, and fly to a second base 500 miles away from the original destination without refueling. With aerial refueling, the limits on the aircraft's range relate directly to the stamina of her crew.

In 1970 America was introduced to number of breakthrough innovations: "The Game of Life", floppy disks, leisure suits and the first operational C-5 Galaxys. Out of the four, only the C-5 will last well into the 21st century. More than thirty years later in a culture saturated with extreme makeover television shows, it's fitting that the United States Air Force's largest cargo hauler is getting an extreme makeover of its own. The catch-up comes in the form of a two-step upgrade, beginning with the Avionics Modernization Program and followed by the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. After both upgrades are complete, an aircraft will be re-designated as a C-5M.

The 2005 Mobility Requirements Study set the minimum airlift needed by 2005 at 54.5 million ton miles per day - compared to the 2002 capability of less than 46 million. A ton mile is the amount of airlift needed to move one ton of cargo, equipment or passengers one mile. The C-5 modernization is one of the actions needed to bring U.S. airlift capability up to the study's recommended requirement. As of mid-2002 C-5s had carried about 46 percent of the intertheater cargo on only about 29 percent of the missions flown in Operation Enduring Freedom.

In September 1998 Lockheed Martin, teamed with Honeywell and GE Aircraft Engines, proposed a commercially-based plan to update the U.S. Air Force's C-5 Galaxy fleet with new avionics and engines. While the C-5 Galaxy had been the backbone of America's strategic airlift fleet since the late 1960s, reliability rates were dropping because the engines and avionics were showing their age. However, testing and analysis reveal that the C-5 has 80 percent of its structural service life remaining. With modernization, C-5 operators can realize a 34 percent less cost-per-flying-hour and 44 percent less cost per ton-mile of cargo - all at 20 percent of the cost of comparable new aircraft.

The Air Force has comprehensive modernization plan for the C-5 fleet aimed at increasing fleet availability and reducing total cost of ownership. The program will focus on upgrading the aircraft with modern commercial engines and systems and making minor structural enhancements to ensure the aircraft is operationally viable until at least 2040. The catch-up comes in the form of a two-step upgrade, beginning with the Avionics Modernization Program and followed by the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. The C-5 avionics modernization (AMP) and reliability and re-engining programs (RERP) are multi-billion dollar efforts. After both upgrades are complete, an aircraft will be re-designated as a C-5M.

With the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) gearing up to give the C-5 a new "glass cockpit," reliability promises to improve. Coupled with the proposals of the Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP) the C-5 should become more reliable and easier to maintain. Through RERP, a new engine, the GE CF-6-80, rated in the 50,000 lbs. thrust class, has been selected to replace the TF-39.

The upgrades include structural improvements that will extend the service life of the C-5 through the year 2040.

The second phase of the C-5 modernization program is the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program, which depends on successfully completing AMP. The program will reduce the need for engine removals, decrease noise and emissions and increase the fleet's climb and payload capability. In addition, RERP is designed to increase reliability, maintainability and availability of the C-5 while reducing ownership costs by reducing maintenance man-hours, and the need for spare parts, officials said.

Propulsion initiatives under RERP will install new turbofan engines, pylons, thrust reversers and wing attachment fittings. Also, officials said the program will improve the aircraft's electrical, hydraulic, fuel, fire suppression and pressurization subsystems as well as auxiliary power units, air conditioning systems, landing gear and the airframe.

The AMP and RERP programs were integrated in January 2002 to more efficiently implement the overall modernization effort. An integrated program allows doing what was always envisioned for the C-5 -- offer a single, integrated modernization effort for the fleet.

Modernizing the entire C-5 fleet represents the best fiscal value for the Air Force. The Air Force can't afford not to modernize the fleet. With almost 35,000 cubic feet of cargo space, some warfighting equipment can only be carried by the C-5. The entire effort to modernize the C-5 will cost about $13 billion. Purchasing additional aircraft to replace the cargo-carrying capability of the C-5 could cost up to $38 billion.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $10,155,575 cost-plus award-fee contract modification to provide for C-5M technical manuals set. This work will be complete by June 2008. Negotiations were completed March 2004. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-02-C-2000, P00038).

The C-5 Systems Group (C5SG/PK) issued, on 06 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). Lot 1 is for one aircraft and encompasses: 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 is FY 06 - FY 09. Options for Lot 2 (3 aircraft) and Lot 3 (five aircraft) will be added and also will include training. This acquisition is a follow on to System Development and Demonstration being performed on a sole source basis by Lockheed Martin Corporation (F33657-02-C-2000).

As of mid-2007 Air Mobility Command had not decided on funding to convert the rest of the C-5 fleet. If funding was provided, the plan was to convert all 49 of the remaining C-5B models and the two C-5C models that were modified for space cargo. Whether or not the remaining C-5A models will be modified is still up in the air. Equipment Diminishing Manufacturing Source (DMS) obsolescence issues will be resolved to support continued production and installation of the AMP modification kits through completion of kit installs to the entire C-5 fleet of 110 aircraft.

Increased costs due to development delays; budget adjustments; and production cost increases associated with engines, pylons, reliability enhancements items, and Lockheed Martin labor led to a review of total program requirements. SecAF notified Congress on 27 September 2007 of critical Nunn-McCurdy (NM) breaches for Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) and Program Acquisition Unit Cost (PAUC). An out-of-cycle Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) was submitted to Congress on 14 November 2007.

The FY2009 budget submit funded the conversion of a total of 108 aircraft [Active 33, Reserve 42, ANG 33], with the last RERP engine kits to be installed in FY2019.

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Page last modified: 14-10-2015 01:46:08 ZULU