It seems we have reached a stage where old airplanes keep going. At least some of them. Recently the TU-95 Bear had a big birthday – and it’s still flying and annoying NATO.
Yesterday there was another big birthday – this time it was for the C-5 Galaxy.
The C-5 Galaxy strategic transporter has been operated only by the U.S. Air Force since 1970. All production C-5s were built at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta plant. The first C-5A rolled out of the Marietta facility on March 2, 1968, at a ceremony with U.S. President Lyndon Johnson in attendance. The first C-5 made its initial flight on June 30, 1968. A total of 131 C-5s were built between 1968-1975 (81 C-5As) and 1985 and 1989 (50 C?5Bs).
In 2006, the Air Force awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to modernize 52 C-5s via the U.S. Air Force’s Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP). This was known as the C-5M.
The C-5 RERP incorporates over 70 improvements and extends the aircraft’s service life to at least 2045. C?5M modernization provides greatly improved reliability, efficiency, maintainability, and availability while ensuring this critical national strategic airlift resource continues serving the warfighter well into the 21st century. The most obvious visible change is the engine switch to the GE CF6 replacing the GE TF6.
The final RERP C-5 served as the backdrop for yesterday’s ceremony and it will be delivered to the 439th Airlift Wing, the Air Force Reserve Command unit at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, in the coming weeks. C-5Ms are also based at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware; Travis Air Force Base, California; and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
To get an idea of the impact of the engine switch, watch these two videos and listen to that roar/whine.
And the much quieter C-5M