Airframe: The C-5 Galaxy

SSgt. Tyler Waters, a loadmaster with the 9th Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, gives us a tour of the C-5 Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force video by Jimmy D. Shea)

Westover's flight line hosts not only the Patriot Wing's 16 C-5Bs but also a re-engined Dover C-5M model, far left, May 25. The modernization of the C-5 boasts upgraded engines that deliver 22 percent more thrust, 30 percent shorter take-off roll and 58 percent faster climb rate, which allow cargo to be carried over longer distances without refueling. The engines are also three times quieter.  These upgrades earn this C-5 the title "Super Galaxy." (U.S. Air Force photo/SrA. Kelly Galloway)

Westover's flight line hosts not only the Patriot Wing's 16 C-5Bs but also a re-engined Dover C-5M model, far left, May 25. The modernization of the C-5 boasts upgraded engines that deliver 22 percent more thrust, 30 percent shorter take-off roll and 58 percent faster climb rate, which allow cargo to be carried over longer distances without refueling. The engines are also three times quieter. These upgrades earn this C-5 the title "Super Galaxy." (U.S. Air Force photo/SrA. Kelly Galloway)

Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., received new Regional Isochronal dock received on January 31, 2012. Westover continues to be the location -- one of only three in the Air Force -- of a regional isochronal inspection dock responsible for keeping the aircraft in the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/SrA. Kelly Galloway)

Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., received new Regional Isochronal dock received on January 31, 2012. Westover continues to be the location -- one of only three in the Air Force -- of a regional isochronal inspection dock responsible for keeping the aircraft in the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo/SrA. Kelly Galloway)

Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)

Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)

Soldiers and airmen offload A UH64 Black Hawk helicopter from a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy at Bagram Air Field. The C-5 Galaxy has served the U.S. Air Force since 1969, and continues to provide vital heavy air lift to troops worldwide. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Henry Chan, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Public Affairs)

Soldiers and airmen offload A UH64 Black Hawk helicopter from a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy at Bagram Air Field. The C-5 Galaxy has served the U.S. Air Force since 1969, and continues to provide vital heavy air lift to troops worldwide. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Henry Chan, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Public Affairs)

A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)

A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)

A 433rd Airlift Wing C-5 Galaxy begins to turn over the runway before landing Nov. 14 2014, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.. The reserve aircrew of the “heavy” aircraft brought Army 7th Special Forces Group personnel and equipment to the base for delivery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A 433rd Airlift Wing C-5 Galaxy begins to turn over the runway before landing Nov. 14 2014, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.. The reserve aircrew of the “heavy” aircraft brought Army 7th Special Forces Group personnel and equipment to the base for delivery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Airmen prepare a C-5 Galaxy for cargo, April 2, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Ground crews are able to load and off-load the C-5 simultaneously at the front and rear cargo openings, reducing cargo transfer times. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Perry Aston)

Airmen prepare a C-5 Galaxy for cargo, April 2, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Ground crews are able to load and off-load the C-5 simultaneously at the front and rear cargo openings, reducing cargo transfer times. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Perry Aston)

A C-5 Galaxy form Travis Air Force Base, Calif. after a refuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Squadron, 151st Air Refueling Wing with the Utah Air National Guard. The 151st Air Refueling Wing routinely supports air operations across the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards)

A C-5 Galaxy form Travis Air Force Base, Calif. after a refuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 191st Air Refueling Squadron, 151st Air Refueling Wing with the Utah Air National Guard. The 151st Air Refueling Wing routinely supports air operations across the western United States. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards)

Capt. Grant Bearden (left) and Lt. Col. Timothy Welter, both pilots with the 709th Airlift Squadron, go over their pre-flight checklist in the C-5M Super Galaxy March 28, 2016, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Reservists from Dover Air Force Base, Del., in the 512th Airlift Wing, conducted an off-station training event to satisfy most deployment requirements in one large exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Bernie Kale)
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Capt. Grant Bearden (left) and Lt. Col. Timothy Welter, both pilots with the 709th Airlift Squadron, go over their pre-flight checklist in the C-5M Super Galaxy March 28, 2016, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Reservists from Dover Air Force Base, Del., in the 512th Airlift Wing, conducted an off-station training event to satisfy most deployment requirements in one large exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Bernie Kale)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Mozingo, 9th Airlift Squadron crew chief, performs a post flight inspection on C-5 Galaxy aircraft after arriving at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 6, 2012. Three C-5s landed at Shaw over a three day period to pick up airmen and supplies in support of a deployment tasking to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ryan Mozingo, 9th Airlift Squadron crew chief, performs a post flight inspection on C-5 Galaxy aircraft after arriving at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 6, 2012. Three C-5s landed at Shaw over a three day period to pick up airmen and supplies in support of a deployment tasking to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

U.S. Airmen tow a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 3, 2014. Airmen with the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron cleared snow from the flight line after a storm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik/Released)
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U.S. Airmen tow a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 3, 2014. Airmen with the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron cleared snow from the flight line after a storm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik/Released)

LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
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LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
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Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Fort Meade, MD --


Since 1969 the C-5 Galaxy has dwarfed all other airframes in the Air Force inventory. Providing the U.S. Air Force with heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability capable of carrying oversized loads and all air-certifiable cargo, including the M-1 Abrams Tank.


 

LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
C-5 Galaxy departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik
LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- A C-5 Galaxy, with the 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., departs for Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, carrying 398th Air Expeditionary Group personnel and equipment that have been supporting efforts in Liberia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
Photo By: Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle
VIRIN: 180716-F-6701P-9004

DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN

During the Vietnam War, the USAF saw the necessity of moving large amounts of troops and equipment overseas quickly. Lockheed was able to meet the ambitious design requirements of a maximum takeoff weight twice that of the USAF current airlifter, the C-141 Starlifter.

“We started to build the C-5 and wanted to build the biggest thing we could… Quite frankly, the C-5 program was a great contribution to commercial aviation. We’ll never get credit for it, but we incentivized that industry by developing [the TF39] engine,” said Gen. Duane H. Cassidy, former Military Airlift Command commander in chief.

The C-5 is a high-wing cargo aircraft with a 65-foot tall T-tail vertical stabilizer. Above the plane-length cargo deck is an upper deck for flight operations and seating for 75 passengers. With a rear cargo door and a nose that swings up loadmasters can drive through the entire aircraft when loading and offloading cargo. The landing gear system is capable of lowering, allowing the aircraft to kneel, making it easier to load tall cargo.

The rear main landing gear can be made to caster enabling a smaller turning radius, and rotates 90 degrees after takeoff before being retracted.

The C-5 Galaxy is capable of airlifting almost every type of military equipment including the Army’s armored vehicle launched bridge or six Apache helicopters.

In the early 2000s, the Air Force began a modernization program on the C-5 upgrading the avionics with flat panel displays, improving the navigation and safety equipment and installing a new auto-pilot system. In 2006, the C-5 was refitted with GE CF6 Engines, pylons and auxiliary power units. The aircraft skin, frame, landing gear, cockpit and pressurization systems were also upgraded. Each CF6 engine produces 22 percent more thrust, reducing the C-5’s take off length, increasing its climb rate, cargo load and range. The new upgraded C-5s are designated as the C-5M Super Galaxy.

 

A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)
A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)
A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)
CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5
A CH-47 helicopter is unloaded from a U.S. Air Force C-5 as a C-17 takes off in the background at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.(U.S. Air Force photo)
Photo By: U.S. Air Force
VIRIN: 180716-F-PT194-9009

OPERATIONAL HISTORY

In the past four decades, the C-5 has supported military operations in all major conflicts, including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. It has also supported our allies, such as Israel, during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War, and the War on Terror. The Galaxy has also been used to distribute humanitarian aid and supported the U.S. Space shuttle program.

On Oct. 24, 1974, the Space and Missile Systems Organization successfully conducted an Air Mobile Feasibility Test where a C-5 air dropped a Minuteman ICBM 20,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The missile descended to 8,000 feet before its rocket engine fired. The test proved the possibility of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile from the air.

The C-5 was used during the development of the stealth fighter, the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, as Galaxies carried partly disassembled aircraft, leaving no exterior signs as to their cargo and keeping the program secret.

Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
C-5 Galaxy
Graphic showing capacity and size of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy
Photo By: Travis Burcham
VIRIN: 180716-D-HR740-9001

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The cargo hold of the C-5 is one foot longer than the entire length of the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.

  • On Sept. 13, 2009, a C-5M set 41 new records and flight data was submitted to the National Aeronautic Association for formal recognition. The C-5M had carried a payload of 176,610 lbs. to over 41,100 feet in 23 minutes, 59 seconds. Additionally, the world record for greatest payload to 6,562 feet (2,000m) was broken.

 

​AIRCRAFT STATS

  • Primary function: Outsize cargo transport

  • Contractor: Lockheed Martin-Georgia Co

  • Power plant: Four F-138-GE100 General Electric engines

  • Thrust: 51,250 pounds per engine

  • Wingspan: 222 feet 9 inches (67.89 meters)

  • Height: 65 feet 1 inch (19.84 meters)

  • Length: 247 feet 10 inches (75.3 meters)

  • Cargo Height: 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 meters)

  • Cargo Width: 19 feet (5.79 meters)

  • Cargo Length: 143 feet, 9 inches (43.8 meters)

  • Pallet Positions: 36

  • Speed: 518 mph

  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 840,000 pounds (381,024 kilograms)

  • Unrefueled Range of C-5M: Approximately 5,524 statute miles (4,800 nautical miles) with 120,000 pounds of cargo; approximately 7,000 nautical miles with no cargo on board.

  • Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers and three loadmasters

    Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)
    Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)
    Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)
    C-5A
    Three C-5 Galaxy aircraft sit lined up on the flightline at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., March 19, 2012. The 439th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command, operates 16 C-5A and B model aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Galloway)
    Photo By: SrA. Kelly Galloway
    VIRIN: 180716-F-XX999-9001





                                                                                                                                       

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