The US Air Mobility Command (AMC) has announced the initial operational capability (IOC) milestone for the US Air Force’s (USAF) upgraded C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.
The milestone follows the successful qualification test, operational test and evaluation and delivery of the 16th C-5M aircraft with trained aircrew and maintenance personnel at Dover Air Force Base (AFB) in Delaware, US.
436th Airlift Wing commander colonel Rick Moore said the aircrews and maintenance crew have worked hard to support the upgrade and launch of the Super Galaxy airframe, to include training the next generation of operators and mechanics.
"We look forward to receiving our final two aircraft to complete Dover’s fleet," Moore said.
The availability of initial spare equipment and parts in the base supply system at Dover AFB, and spares at some forward supply locations, was required for IOC.
In addition to this, support equipment, test, measurement and diagnostic equipment were required to be in place at the airbase, key en-route locations and depot repair facilities.
An upgraded version of the C-5 Galaxy aircraft, the C-5M Super Galaxy features an increased 58% climb rate to an initial cruise altitude to facilitate greater cargo transportation from airfields across long distances.
A total of 79 C-5 aircraft, including A, B and C models, have been upgraded by Lockheed Martin as part of a two-phase modernisation programme, including the avionics modernization program (AMP) and the reliability enhancement and re-engining program (RERP), which aims to extend the platform’s service life beyond 2040.
The $70m C-5 AMP phase involved the installation of a mission computer, glass cockpit with digital avionics and advanced communications, navigation and surveillance components for air traffic management.
Out of 79 AMP aircraft, 52 are scheduled to undergo RERP, which involves reequipping the aircraft with new General Electric CF6 engines, and more than 70 additional improvements to major components and subsystems.
Image: A C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft stationed at Dover Air Force Base (AFB) in Delaware, US. Photo: courtesy of USAF Jason Minto.