How Much Better?:

Advocates for upgrading the entire fleet of huge C-5 airlifters, both the A and B models, maintain that the revamped aircraft would achieve a mission capability rate of nearly 85 percent, a big jump from its present 49 percent. However, Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, USAF’s acquisition deputy, and Maj. Gen. Thomas Kane, Air Mobility Command’s requirements director, testified that the true improvement would be only 10 to 15 percent higher than the current rate. That would mean a modernized C-5 would reach around 50 percent reliability. Getting to that point will be a slow process, which is one reason the Air Force really would prefer to retire the A models. Keeping the As in the air is a chore. “For every flying hour that they fly, over the last 16 years, the A model C-5s require 61 percent more maintenance man hours per flight hour,” stated Hoffman.