War on Terrorism

Friday, July 16, 2010

C-5s support Afghanistan troop surge

by Capt. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/15/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AFNS) -- Since June 17, Dover Air Force Base Reserve and active-duty C-5 Galaxy aircrews have been overseas supporting the Afghanistan surge delivering 4 million pounds of cargo to Afghanistan.

Two C-5M Super Galaxies and seven C-5 Galaxies completed 42 of 44 missions July 12, with the final C-5 mission scheduled for July 17.

The C-5, with its ability to carry more than any other aircraft, has been an aviation workhorse for the Air Force since the 1970s. However, the C-5M, upgraded with new avionics and engines, is setting a historic precedent as well, said Lt. Col. Mike Semo, a 709th AS pilot and chief of the C-5M program office.

"The C-5Ms performance in this surge sets the benchmark for future operations," he said. "Staging the C-5M downrange to transport time-critical cargo direct to a theatre half-way around the world is groundbreaking. This adds a new-weapon to our arsenal of direct delivery capability, and we are extremely proud to enable our troops to accomplish the mission by providing them with life-saving equipment, supplies and cargo."

Plus, the C-5M has 22 percent more thrust, resulting in a 30 percent shorter take-off and a 58 percent higher climb rate to initial altitude," Colonel Semo said. The aircraft can fly for more than 5,000 miles without refueling, allowing it to bypass traditional en-route stops and supply cargo to the war fighter much faster.

Another improvement is the C-5M's mission capable rate, which is the ability of the aircraft to perform the mission. For the surge, the C-5M completed 21 missions with an MCR of 85 percent, said Chad Gibson, the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics communications manager. The seven legacy C-5 aircraft achieved an MCR of 65 percent during the effort.

MCRs for the C-5 averaged 67 percent from July 1994 to June 1995, according to www.globalsecurity.org.

"We expect the reliability to increase further with the first production aircraft that arrives at Dover (AFB) Sept. 30," Colonel Semo said.

The first production C-5M will have incorporated the lessons learned from the operational test and evaluation Dover AFB aircrews completed this year. Congress will decide if the Air Force will receive more modernized C-5s. However, if approved, 49 more C-5s are scheduled to undergo upgrades completing their conversion to the C-5M.

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