Lockheed Says C-5M Impressive

One of the key questions surrounding the Air Force’s C-5M modernization program is whether the dollars being spent on new engines, avionics, and reliability enhancements for 52 C-5s will reverse the C-5 fleet’s notoriously lackluster mission capable rates. The answer so far is affirmative, says Lorraine Martin, vice president for C-5 modernization for prime contractor Lockheed Martin. She told reporters last week in Orlando, Fla., at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium, that the three C-5M test aircraft met all key performance parameters and “met and succeeded” all key testing points in more than 400 sorties and 1,000 flight hours during developmental testing last year. After the testing wrapped up, Lockheed took one of the aircraft on two separate around-the-world journeys to see how well the new configuration held up in an operational environment, including in hot and cold climates, and when carrying a cargo near the aircraft’s maximum lift capacity. It held up well, she said. As of Feb. 27, the three test aircraft have maintained a mission capable rate of 80 percent, said Martin. If these numbers persist, the sustainment savings to the Air Force would be in the neighborhood of $9 billion over the remaining life of the C-5 fleet, she said.