Video Tour: C-5M Super Galaxy

2011 PARIS AIR SHOW — Here’s Lt. Col. Lee Merkel of Dover AFB, Delaware talking about some the improvements he notices from a pilot’s perspective with regard to the newly renovated Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy. He was talking to me aboard a C-5M on display at this year’s show. This particular jet was built in the 1980s and served as one of Lockheed’s test jets for the C-5M program in the last decade. It’s one of only five of the Galaxy’s to have recieved the new GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines (with 50,000 pounds of thrust each) and digital flight controls.

While the C-5 re-engining program had its fiscal troubles, the new engines give the plane a 22-percent boost in power, a 20-percent shorter takeoff roll, a 58-percent increase in climb rate and a ten-fold increase in reliability. Can you say serious upgrade? C-5Ms can operate from twice the number of bases as older C-5s and fly directly from the U.S. to bases in Afghanistan with 120,000 pounds of cargo; something the biggest jet in the U.S. arsenal couldn’t do before.

Meanwhile, the digital flight deck brings the cockpit into the 21st century with tech such as GPS navigation system and a glass displays. The modern, GPS-based navigation system means the plane can now be flown in standard commercial air lanes rather than flying under them.

This will keep an aircraft whose first flight happened in 1968 flying until 2040.

  • John Moore

    Your way way way too obsesed with this plane maybe u can move on and report something else please?

    • DennisBuller

      It is a huge leap in logistical capability.
      Wars are won with logistics.

    • ziv

      John, if you could find a way to spell ‘you’re’ correctly, it would help your cause. But, to add insult to injury, when you can’t spell ‘obsessed’ and choose to spell ‘you’ with a ‘u’ instead, don’t expect anyone to respect your opinion.
      Being poorly educated doesn’t mean that you are stupid, but it does mean that you are poorly educated….

  • Expand this to the C141 & other C5s??? expand Air Logistics alone.

  • IKnowIT

    Another C5 story? There is nothing better from Paris? Really? At least no SilverLight..

  • SJE

    Given the high prices (?price gouging”) for new systems, there is a lot to be said for retooling and upgrading a tried and true system. You know it works, you have parts, trained people, and you get a good price. You also get all the expertise in logistics from the commercial sector, where costs and reliability are key, not pulling 9g in a turn.

    On a separate issue: I read the Airbus tried to make a civilian version of the A400M, but civilian airlines didnt like the costs. Can someone explain this to me?

  • blight

    It’s only ludicrous in the “fat slow” department. Fat slow bomber, check. Fat slow transports, check. Surplus money for fighter jets whenever possible, check. Wars can be won by defeating armies, but they’re also lost when you lose too many merchant ships to submarines (I’m looking at you, Japan!)

  • Sun

    the engines and avionic was never the problem. its the cargo doors and landing gear. every time you kneeled or open the doors the plane was broke lol

  • vicent

    More ammo,more ,trucks,artilery,protiens.water safe and return safe!!

  • Steve G

    I would like to say that it is great to see that the DOD has spent a little money on the old C5 A/B. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to produce a new version of the C5 today. I worked on the C5 as a crew chief back in the early 80’s and i had good experiences as well as not so good with the C5. I hope this will be money well spent. It is unusual to see a C5 with a glass cockpit but awesome at the same time. Finally engine upgrades with the GE CF6’s. Maybe the GE “GENex” engines would do good too but the C5 requires a lot of bleed air to operate most of its systems. Most of everything would have to run on electrical power. It would be too much modifications to deal with. Anyway, best of luck to the men & women who will fly and the men & women who will maintain this gigantic plane.

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  • don clark

    i was a c5 crew chief and later flt engineer from 1980-2008. it is a great plane and still required because some military equip will not fit in anything else, it has longer range and higher payload capacity than c17, may she fly for along,long time. anyway i was just wondering how one got in a tv commercial in civilian paint? it would be great if someone got one of my old a models out of dm and ran that antonov out of the civilian heavylift business, though it would require faa waivers, since it was never civilian certified.