Lockheed C-5 Galaxy General
Lockheed C-5A/B Galaxy
Strategic Military Freighter

Lockheed C-5 Program Milestones
Manufacturing Contract
First Flight
June 30, 1968
First Delivery
June 1970
Program Set-back
Mid 1970's
First C-5B Delivery
April 1986

Lockheed C-5 Aircraft Dimensions
Wing Span
228.8 feet (67.91 m)
Wing Area
6,200 square feet
Wing Sweep
25 degrees
247.8 feet (75.53 m)
65.1 feet (19.84 m)

United States Air Force Lockheed C-5
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United States Air Force Lockheed C-5

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Weights
270,000 lb (120,000 kg)
Empty Weight
380,000 lb (170,000 kg)
769,000 lb (349,000 kg)
Maximum Take-off Weight
840,000 lb (381,000 kg)

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Range & Performance
2,400 nm (4,445 km)
Service Ceiling
34,000 feet
Maximum Speed
Mach 0.79 (570 mph)
Cruise Speed
Mach 0.77
Maximum Rate of Climb
1,800 ft/min (9.1 m/s)
Thrust to Weight
Maximum Fuel Capacity
193,620 L
Comparable Aircraft
Airbus A380
Lockheed C-17

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy General Information
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is an impressive military transport aircraft specifically designed to provide strategic heavy airlift over intercontinental distances. In fact, the C-5 is the largest American military transport and one of the largest military aircraft worldwide. The aircraft is capable of carrying outsize and oversize cargo which can be easily loaded through its large nose cargo door. The C-5 took to the skies for the first time on June 30, 1968, and is operated by the United States Air Force.

Back in the early 1960's, several companies began studies into a new large transportation aircraft that would replace the C-133 transport and complement C-141 Starlifters. Interesting detail was the fact that the US Army demanded an aircraft larger than the C-141. A few years later, in 1962, the US army rejected the first proposal, called the CX-4 transport, since it was not viewed as a significant advance over the original C-141. In 1963, the CX-X was presented and featured a gross weight of 550,000 lb, a maximum payload of 180,000 lb and a cruise speed of Mach 0.75 (920 km/h). It had a cargo compartment which was 100 feet (30 m) long, 13.5 feet (4.1 m) high and 17.2 feet (5.2 m) wide, and could be loaded both from the back as through the nose. Eventually, RFPs went for bid in 1964 with proposals for the aircraft being received later that same year. Manufacturers interested in producing the four-engined aircraft were Boeing, Douglas, General Dynamics, Lockheed and Martin Marietta while engine manufacturers General Electric, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, and Pratt & Whitney proposed several engine designs. A year later in 1965, Lockheed's aircraft design and General Electric's engine design were selected for the new transport.

On March 2, 1968, the first Lockheed C-5A Galaxy rolled out of the manufacturing plant in Marietta, Georgia. It took of for the first time on June 30, 1968 when Lockheed-Georgia Co. began flight testing the new C-5A Galaxy. In June 1970, the first operational Galaxy was delivered to the 437th Airlift Wing based at Charleston Air Force Base, SC

In the 1970's, the C-5 Galaxy was considered for the role of Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in order to transport the Space Shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately for Lockheed, it was rejected in favor of the Boeing 747, partly due to the 747's low-wing design. Another interesting detail is the fact that the Soviet Union chose to transport its own shutlles using the Antonov An-225, which is an even bigger version of the An-124 and is similar to the C-5 design.

Lockheed encountered a set-back during the 1970's as wing cracks were discovered throughout the C-5 fleet. Consequently, the whole fleet of C-5A aircraft were restricted to a maximum of 50,000 pounds of cargo each. In order to increase its service life and lifting capability, the C-5A underwent a re-winging program during the early 1980's.

In 1986 the first C-5B was delivered to Altus Air Force Base and totalled 50 by the time production ceased in April 1989. The C-5B includes all C-5A improvements as well as more than 100 additional system modifications to improve maintainability and reliability.

In 1998, the AMP, or Avionics Modernization Program, began upgrading the C-5's avionics to include a modern glass cockpit, new autopilot system and navigation equipment. Another part of the modernization program included the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program, called RERP. The progam emphasized on replacing the engines with newer, more powerful ones. Furthermore, one of the C-5A's was being X-rayed and torn down, panel by panel just to see how stressed, cracked, and corroded the aircraft is. The information obtained in the tear down will be used to determine whether to give the RERP upgrade to all the C-5's or just a couple of them. At the moment, three C-5s undergo the RERP as a test with production planned to begin in May 2008.

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Design
The C-5 Galaxy is a high-wing cargo aircraft specifically designed to transport large and out-sized cargo. It has a high T-tail, 25 degree wing sweep, and is powered by four TF39 turbofan engines mounted beneath the wings. The aircraft is equipped with aerial refueling capability and has 12 internal wing tanks. This basically means that the Galaxy's range is primarily limited by crew endurance. The Galaxy is operated by a crew of eight and consists of three pilots, two flight engineers and three loadmasters. In order to facilitate loading and unloading it has both nose and aft cargo doors, which is suitable for drive-through loading. The cargo compartment is 121 feet long, 19 feet wide, 13.5 feet high and can contain up to 31,000 square feet of cargo. On the upper deck right after the flight deck, the aircraft can seat a maximum of 73 passengers.

The aircraft can take-off and land from unprepared airfields as it is fitted with a high flotation landing gear with 28 wheels sharing the weight of the C-5. Furthermore, the landing gear is able to kneel-down in order to permit vehicle loading and unloading by making use of full width drive-on ramps.

Lockheed C-5 Versions

C-5A The C-5A is the original design of the C-5. In total there were 81 C-5A's delivered to US Air Force bases. A set-back for the aircraft came in the mid-1970s as cracks were found in the wings and the aircraft became cargo weight restricted. The led to a redesign of the wing in order to restore the aircraft's full loading capability. The program started to install the new wings on the C-5A's was conducted from 1981 untill 1987.
C-5B The C-5B is a significantly improved version of the C-5A. It incorporates all modifications and improvements made to the orginal C-5A and includes improved wings, upgraded TF39-GE-1c turbofan engines and updated avionics. In total, 50 C-5B's having delivered to the United States Air Force.
C-5C The C-5C is a specially modified variant of the Galaxy specifically to carry large cargo. In total there were two aircraft modified to have a larger internal cargo capacity, by removing the troop compartment, in order to make it capable of accomodating large payloads, such as satellites for use by NASA. The two C-5C's are operated by United States Air Force crews on behalf of NASA, and are stationed at Travis Airforce Base.
C-5M The C-5M is specially upgraded variant of the C-5. It is a product of an aggressive program to modernize all remaining C-5B's, C-5C's and many of the C-5A's. The program, called Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), began 1988 and includes upgrading avionics to Global Air Traffic Management compliance, improving communications, new flat panel displays, improving navigation and safety equipments, and installing a new autopilot system. The first of the Lockheed C-5 AMP occurred on December 21, 2002.