The C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft, an upgraded version of the legacy C-5, is designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin to expand the C-5 Galaxy fleet’s ability to stay operational until at least 2040. The C-5M aircraft are in service with the US Air Force.
- The C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft reached its first operational capability in February 2014.
- The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a heavy logistics designed to conduct operations around the world.
- The US Air Force adopted the first C-5A in 1969. the C-5 can structurally last into the 21st century, depending on the model and other factors.
While the C-5 Galaxy has been the backbone of the US strategic airlift fleet since the early 1970s, reliability has declined as the engines and avionics show their age. However, tests and analysis show that the C-5 still has 80 per cent of its structural life remaining. With the upgrades, C-5 operators can realize a 34 per cent lower cost per hour of flight and a 44 per cent lower cost per tonne-mile of cargo, all 20 per cent of the cost of a new aircraft.
Lockheed Martin has submitted a proposal to the Galaxy C-5 Modernization Program to replace existing avionics with modern, highly reliable digital systems on all 126 C-5s in the US Air Force fleet. Honeywell Defense Avionics Systems is offering a universal integrated avionics package, an FAA-certified system developed by its commercial division that represents the latest implementation of Honeywell’s integrated modular avionics technology.
Galaxies comprise only 12 per cent of the combined airlift fleet, but they carry 44 per cent of all transport cargo and fly 23 per cent of all strategic airlift missions. Ninety per cent of the Air Force’s C-5 aircraft are deployed in Desert Shield/Storm, with the remainder flying high-priority missions elsewhere in the world.
The US Air Force adopted the first C-5A in 1969. The fleet was upgraded with new wings in the mid-1980s. With a projected structural life of over 50,000 hours, the C-5 can structurally last into the 21st century, depending on the model and other factors. However, obsolescence, system reliability and maintainability, and operating costs all play a role in the life of an aircraft.
Design competition between Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed-Georgia. Lockheed won the contract in October 1965 with a design that was a continuation of the company’s Hercules/Starlifter series. At a gross weight of 764,500 pounds, Lockheed’s Model 500, later named the C-5A Galaxy, outperformed not only other Air Force aircraft but every other type of aircraft available.