C-5M Galaxy

The US Air Force (USAF) is conducting flight tests of the C-5M Super Galaxy Block 3.5.2 software upgrade, which aims to rectify 72 deficiency reports (DR) that were documented during previous C-5M evaluation programmes, at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, US.

Initial testing of software upgrades to the aircraft’s automatic flight control system, auto throttle, display services, embedded diagnostic system and flight management system, have already been conducted at Dover AFB in Delware, US.

418th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) C-5 test pilot major Zackary Schaffer said the test results will assist the C-5 Galaxy program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in making decisions regarding fielding of the aircraft.

"Additionally, data from this testing will be used by the development system manager at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-(Patterson AFB) to generate a program assessment summary to verify the C-5M retains the navigational performance and surveillance capabilities necessary for future airspace requirements," Schaffer added.

418th Flight Test Squadron, 775th Test Squadron C-5 lead engineer Joel Williams said the DR corrections will help enhance C-5M’s capabilities through integration of a new vertical guidance mode, new glideslope capture capabilities, identify friend or foe mode S enhanced surveillance, and upgraded traffic collision and an avoidance logic system.

In addition to supporting airworthiness certification of the software update, the C-5 Galaxy development system manager, C-5 Division, will use test results to support certification of readiness for operational testing, which is scheduled to be conducted by the Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron.

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With the C-5M Super Galaxy Block 3.5.2 software upgrade testing expected to be completed by the end of the month, USAF officials are planning to upgrade a total of 52 Galaxies to "Super" status by the end of 2016.

An upgraded version of the C-5 Galaxy aircraft, C-5M Super Galaxy features an increased 58% climb rate to an initial cruise altitude to facilitate greater cargo transportation from airfields over long distances.

A total of 79 C-5 aircraft, including A, B and C models, have been upgraded by Lockheed Martin as part of C-5M upgrade programme, which aims to extend the platform’s service life beyond 2040.

Image: An USAF personnel prepares a C-5M Super Galaxy for Block 3.5.2 software upgrade testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/Jet Fabara.

Defence Technology