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The C-5 Galaxy: a Modern Military Airlifter

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The C-5 Galaxy: A Modern Military Airlifter

Terry Wydeven
ENGL135 Advanced Composition March 7 2007

Terry Wydeven
Instructor C. Gorman
English 135
7 March 2007

The C-5 Galaxy military cargo transport airplane is an awesome workhorse for the United States Department of Defense (DoD), primarily the military. The C-5 offers unique capabilities unlike any other platform. Not only does it have outsized and oversized cargo capability, it is the only airlifter in the Air Force capable of moving 100 percent of the DoD's certified air-transportable cargo (Johnson, 2003). The air Force wants to spend $8.8 plus billion dollars to upgrade the aircraft fleet so it will be more reliable in future years. Is this project worth that much money? In recent years, America has been forced with budget cuts and an exceptionally reduced military force. Everywhere you look state, federal and military programs are being slashed to save the taxpayer money and reduce the federal deficit. As we all know, our military strength is very important to this nation. As the world’s police force, it takes a great deal on money to support our interests around the globe and the military is a large part of our global enforcement. Cut the budget too much and we will not be effective. The C-5A Galaxy first rolled off the assembly line in 1968. A newer version, the C5B, came to life in the early 1980s. This newer version had some structural upgrades but not much in the terms of avionics and engines. In the past ten or so years, the reliability of the aircraft has greatly declined. It takes many hours of maintenance for the airplane to fly just one hour. The military wanted to put the airplane in the bone yard and exclusively build the C-17 Globemaster to replace the aging C-5. One problem with that is the C-5 is much larger than the C-17 and the military has designed special equipment that can only be carried on the C-5. Upgrading the C-5 is no doubt very expensive but probably worth it. The air force currently has two initiatives it is working. The first is the Avionics Modernization Program or AMP. The C-5 Galaxy AMP (aka. C-5M) program is about changing 1960s and 1970s avionics to make the cockpit more like its commercial counterparts. (Defense Industry Daily, 2006). This program basically sticks eight airplanes into the airspace above 29,000 ft., which is now occupied by just two. If an airlifter doesn't have the appropriate avionics, it will have to take longer routes (Chandler, 2004). Second is the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP). The idea behind RERP is to install modern engines derived from General Electric's CF6-80C2s that power many Boeing 747s (Defense Industry Daily, 2006). The engine delivers a 22 percent increase in thrust, a 30 percent shorter take-off roll and a 38 percent higher climb to initial altitude, allowing significantly more cargo to be carried over longer distances (National Guard , 2006). It will be interesting to get more in-depth with these modernization programs and find out just what they will do to enhance the aircraft. With the upgrades, we will compare the current capabilities to the proposed capabilities of a more modern C-5. Finally, I would like to explore the capability of the C-5 to the C-17 and C-130 Hercules aircraft and determine if the cost is beneficial to the America.


Defense Industry Daily (2006). $33.3M to Continue C-5 Galaxy AMP-RERP Modernization modernization/index.php Retrieved March ,2007 A short article that discusses both the Aircraft Modernization Program (AMP) and the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) as well as some of the contracts awarded to these two projects.

Chandler J. (2004, September). C-5M Super Galaxy Upgrade;. Overhaul & Maintenance, 10(7), 67. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 708869761). According to the Air Force, operational and support savings will begin to accrue as soon as the first aircraft is modified and placed into operational service, which is expected in 2008. Based on the Air Force's approved acquisition strategy of modernizing all 112 C-5s, the entire C-5M development and production program will pay for itself approximately five years after the last aircraft has been modernized.
Johnston M. (2003, March). C-5M super galaxy. The Officer, 79(2), 32-33. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 328149941). The average C-5 aircraft is 24 years old with 16,000 flying hours and much life remaining. Studies conducted on behalf of the Air Force show that C-5 modernization is the most cost-effective solution to meeting airlift requirements.

Improved C-5 Promises to Extend Fleet's Service. (2006, June). National Guard, 60(6), 29-30. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from Career and Technical Education database. (Document ID: 1077914331). The Air Force accepted delivery of the fist C-5M Galaxy at a roll-out ceremony May 16 at Lockheed Martin's plant in Marietta GA. It was one of 111 existing C-5s that will undergo modernization at the facility, improving the aircraft's capability and efficiency Air Force officials hope will extend its life by more than 25 years.…...

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