First Super Galaxy Delivered

Lockheed Martin said it delivered the first fully modernized C-5M transport to the Air Force yesterday at Robins AFB, Ga. “The C-5 fleet is now beginning to realize its full operational potential,” Lorraine Martin, Lockheed’s C-5 program vice president, said in the company’s release. Lockheed has modified three C-5s to the M-model configuration to date. The other two are scheduled for delivery to the Air Force at Dover AFB, Del., in February. The C-5M, known as the Super Galaxy, feature new avionics, installed under the avionics modernization program, and new, higher performance engines and additional components added as part of the reliability enhancement and re-engining program. These three C-5Ms completed developmental testing in August; the Air Force anticipates beginning operational tests with them in the second half of 2009. The Air Force plans to upgrade 52 of its 111 C-5s to the M-model configuration. The remaining 59 C-5s will get only the new avionics. One of the issues facing the incoming Administration is the composition of the Air Force’s strategic airlift fleet. The Government Accountability Office last month warned against prematurely shutting down Boeing’s production line for the C-17 transport while questions still remain over the costs of the C-5 upgrades. (For more on the strategic airlift issue, read the Mobility Metric Quandary.)