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LM completes C-5M upgrades for US Air Force

07 August 2018
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Lockheed Martin has completed a 20-year effort to upgrade 52 of the US Air Force’s (USAF) C-5A/B/C Galaxy strategic transport aircraft to the C-5M standard.

The last of 52 C-5M Galaxy airlifters departed the Marietta production facility on 2 August, some 20-years after the upgrade programme was first launched. (Lockheed Martin)The last of 52 C-5M Galaxy airlifters departed the Marietta production facility on 2 August, some 20-years after the upgrade programme was first launched. (Lockheed Martin)

The company announced on 6 August that the last aircraft to go through the USAF’s final Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) phase left the Marietta production facility in Georgia four-days prior.

The C-5M programme began in 1998, and involved a two-phased upgrade under the Avionics Modernisation Programme (AMP) and Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Programme (RERP) efforts. All C-5B and C-5C aircraft went through both the AMP and RERP processes to be designated C-5Ms, while those C-5A aircraft with enough airframe life underwent the AMP only.

The upgrades being retrofitted to the C-5 fleet under the AMP and RERP greatly increase both the performance and safety margins of the aircraft. In terms of performance, replacing the General Electric (GE) TF39-GE-1C turbofans with new GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines (military designation F108-GE-100) has added 22% more thrust, or the equivalent of fitting a fifth engine. This gives the air force the ability to take off with more cargo and fuel to give a 20% increase in range with a greatly increased payload and means that the cargo delivery rate for the C-5M is increased by more than 50% over the legacy-variant Galaxies. The safety margin is also increased as the new engines are significantly more reliable, with a 20% improvement in the in-flight shutdown rate.

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