Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy

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"Air Force Upgrades C-5 Galaxy "
By Kris Osborn Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 5:51 pm

Source:
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/07/31/air-force-upgrades-c-5-galaxy-planes/


The Air Force is adding new engines to its hulking C-5 workhorse aircraft as part of a modernization approach designed to give the planes improved performance, reliability and fuel efficiency, service officials said.

The goal of the effort is to engineer a fleet of 52 new, upgraded C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft by 2017, replacing and upgrading some of the earlier A, B and C variants of the plane.

The massive aircraft, with 65-foot aircraft and 222-foot wingspan, is engineered to accommodate a maximum take-off weight of 840,000 pounds. Earlier variants of the aircraft, beginning with the first C-5A models which first flew in the late ‘60s, have served the U.S. military in a range of conflicts.

C-5 aircraft have hauled food, troops, fuel, weapons and ammo in Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan; the large planes are able to haul tanks, helicopters, artillery and other Army air-transportable equipment as well as standard pallets and troops around the battlefield.

Thus far, 11 C-5 planes have received what the service calls Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining modifications, or RERP, an effort which replaces a TF39 GE engine with a stronger, more reliable GE F138-GE-100 engine, said Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick.

“RERP is a comprehensive modernization to improve C-5 reliability, maintainability, and availability. It replaces TF39 engines and unreliable components to improve performance, fuel efficiency, range, and payload and throughput capability,” he said.

One analyst said adding a new engine brings a huge improvement to the plane.

“It is the only re-engining program the Air Force has initiated. Very few planes have every been re-engined. This is a great idea as it brings a tremendous improvement in range, payload and reliability,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, a Virginia-based consultancy.

This RERP modification is not intended to extend the service life of the aircraft because the analysis leading up to this modernization effort had previously determined the C-5 was deemed capable of performing its mission through 2040, Gulick added.

“Certain modifications were needed to allow it to operate in a modern digital environment while also improving aircraft reliability, availability, and maintainability. The centerpiece for this modification is the replacement of the engine, which provides the capability to attain higher altitudes for air traffic management,” said Gulick.

While designed to improve reliability, the new engines also bring the added benefit of substantially increased fuel-efficiency for the planes.

During a recent mission in Afghanistan, two RERP-modified C-5Ms were able to match the performance of seven unmodified aircraft, Gulick said.

“While the seven unmodified aircraft flew 23 missions and moved approximately 1.6 million pounds of cargo, only two C‑5Ms were needed to fly 22 missions and move more than 2 million pounds of cargo due to their increased reliability,” he said.

The RERP program is expected to cost about $89.5 million per plane and $7.4 billion overall.

The C-5 aircraft have had some reliability issues over the years; at one point in the 1970s and 1980s, the Air Force realized that the plane’s wing structure would only be functional for up to 8,000 hours of the 30,000 hours expected for the overall service life of the plane; as a result, the service opted to replace the wing boxes using a new aluminum alloy, according to research from the Teal Group.

The RERP program is intended to build upon progress made during a prior C-5 modernization effort called Avionics Modernization Program, or AMP, wherein aircraft were engineered with a “glass cockpit” and other upgraded electronics and avionics.

“AMP avionics upgrades replaced unreliable components in the autopilot/flight augmentation systems and the flight and engine instrument suites. Additionally, navigation/safety upgrades, and an all-weather flight control system were included. Safety upgrades included a traffic alert and collision avoidance system and a terrain awareness and warning system,” Gulick mentioned.

The Air Force designed the RERP program so that it could synchronize with and build upon the technologies added during the AMP effort, a fleet-wide modernization effort going back to the late 1990s.

“C-5 modernization is a two-phase effort. Phase 1 was the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) and Phase 2 is RERP. RERP provides an improved aircraft diagnostic system that assists maintenance personnel in the identification of malfunctions. Additionally, upgrades to system operating software provide capability growth for future operational requirements,” Gulick said.

As the C-5M matures through the RERP program, the Air Force anticipates it will bring the potential of an 8 to 9-percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to legacy C-5s, he added.
 

Vahe Demirjian

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That's several more years of deference for the Global Range Aircraft program to find a successor to the C-5. Guess the C-5 is still a cheap airlifter despite the passage of 45 years.
 

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I wonder if the operational experience of C-5 re-engineing would help move effort to re-engine the B-52 a little more forward...
 

Vahe Demirjian

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ouroboros said:
I wonder if the operational experience of C-5 re-engineing would help move effort to re-engine the B-52 a little more forward...

Doubtful. Boeing in the 1990s toyed with re-engining the B-52s with RB.211s, but the USAF rejected the proposal in 1996 as prohibitively expensive, and the current upgrade to the B-52 fleet does not include plans to re-engine the B-52s.
 
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Seven-Q-Seven has proposed a B-52 re-engine using the JT8s it is fitting to the Joint STARS. Apparently it slots straight in, has similar weight and CoG characteristics as the TF33s, and only requires minor changes to the TRs and generator fairings.
 

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https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lockheed-martin-delivers-last-upgraded-c-5-450912/
 

Foo Fighter

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"Lockheed Martin says the new engines are also ten times more reliable and quieter. And, the aircraft’s range was increased 900nm to 5,250nm over its predecessors".

From that link, the range would seem to be a typo, cannot see that much range extension.
 

djfawcett

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At first glance, it is a bit confusing. But what Lockheed is saying is that the range is increased 900 nm, not 900 to 5250.
 

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djfawcett said:
At first glance, it is a bit confusing. But what Lockheed is saying is that the range is increased 900 nm, not 900 to 5250.

Still seems a bit optimistic. It's hard to get directly comparable numbers, but the USAF cites a range of 5,524 statute miles (4,800 nautical miles) with 120,000 pounds of cargo for the C-5M. Closest comparable number I can find for the C-5A is on Military Today, which cites a range of 8,056 km (4,350 nautical miles) with a 54.4 tons (~120,000 pounds) of cargo. That's a gain of 450 nm, not 900 nm. I suppose there might be some weird set of payload and operating conditions where you could go from 4350 nm range to 5250 nm range, but it seems unlikely, assuming both of these numbers are correct.

https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104492/c-5-abc-galaxy-c-5m-super-galaxy/
http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/lockheed_c_5_galaxy.htm
 

isayyo2

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Wanted to share this interesting document from way back in 2007: https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA479125.pdf

The DTIC paper is more or less comparing the cost of upgrading the C-5As vs buying new C-17s; well we know what happened. Though they made a good case for both options, in theory the C-5As could have been upgraded without much hassle. The only A to M conversion 69-0024 seems be doing a good job? Before retirement, 27 C-5As went through the AMP program only to wind up in the Arizona desert a decade later. With the high-end fight back in the picture, KC-10s being retired, and the C-17 line gone for good then perhaps a dozen airframes could be returned to service? Or more likely their bones have been picked thoroughly already...
 

Mark Nankivil

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Wanted to share this interesting document from way back in 2007: https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA479125.pdf

The DTIC paper is more or less comparing the cost of upgrading the C-5As vs buying new C-17s; well we know what happened. Though they made a good case for both options, in theory the C-5As could have been upgraded without much hassle. The only A to M conversion 69-0024 seems be doing a good job? Before retirement, 27 C-5As went through the AMP program only to wind up in the Arizona desert a decade later. With the high-end fight back in the picture, KC-10s being retired, and the C-17 line gone for good then perhaps a dozen airframes could be returned to service? Or more likely their bones have been picked thoroughly already...
There were at least 31 C-5B to C-5M conversions done so 69-0024 is not the only one.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

TomcatViP

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I think the point was that only a single model A was upgraded with retired airframe now available for a potential new batch of upgrade.
 

Foo Fighter

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Is it realistic to pursue upgrade and life extensions? With life in the eastern med and the SCS, they are sure to need as many heavy lifting assets as they can get their mitts on.
 

isayyo2

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Wanted to share this interesting document from way back in 2007: https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA479125.pdf

The DTIC paper is more or less comparing the cost of upgrading the C-5As vs buying new C-17s; well we know what happened. Though they made a good case for both options, in theory the C-5As could have been upgraded without much hassle. The only A to M conversion 69-0024 seems be doing a good job? Before retirement, 27 C-5As went through the AMP program only to wind up in the Arizona desert a decade later. With the high-end fight back in the picture, KC-10s being retired, and the C-17 line gone for good then perhaps a dozen airframes could be returned to service? Or more likely their bones have been picked thoroughly already...
There were at least 31 C-5B to C-5M conversions done so 69-0024 is not the only one.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
I believe it was 49 Bs, 2 Cs, and one A 69-0024. The C-5Bs start with 83-1285
Is it realistic to pursue upgrade and life extensions? With life in the eastern med and the SCS, they are sure to need as many heavy lifting assets as they can get their mitts on.
Realistic in 2021? Probably not anymore, if more airlift was needed they'd use CRAF jets. But if there was room in the budget, the As had plenty of life left according to General Moseley. There was an issue with spares and depot maintenance however, which has always been the C-5s bane.
Screen Shot 2021-07-06 at 8.01.37 AM.png
 

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