USAF RETIRES ITS LAST C-5A AIRLIFTER


The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has retired the last of its C-5A Galaxy airlifters.

This C-5A has been in operation for over 44 years and has over 22,500 flight hours and more than 5,470 full-stop landings.

Lockheed-Georgia Co. delivered the first operational C-5A Galaxy to the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, now known as Joint Base Charleston, S.C., in June 1970.

For decades, the C-5 has been a pivotal air mobility asset, responsible for the rapid deployment of combat forces to any point in the world at short notice. Since its introduction the aircraft seen extensive use in every major global contingency since the Southeast Asia War.

In fact the C-5’s range and cargo capacity greatly exceeded the capabilities of earlier USAF airlifters. The massive cargo hold measured 120 feet long, nearly 20 feet wide, and 13 feet tall.

In a standard configuration it can carry 36 pallets of equipment and 81 troops. The C-5 is also used to transport special oversize loads and can accommodate two Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles or a variety of heavy combat equipment, including two M1 Abrams main battle tanks or three CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Specially designed for heavy airlift, the C-5’s large front and rear cargo doors reduce cargo transfer times by allowing ground crews to load and off-load the aircraft simultaneously. An innovative “kneeling” landing gear system facilitates vehicle loading and eliminates the need for special lift equipment. The C-5’s “high flotation” landing gear permits the aircraft to operate from smaller, unsurfaced airfields despite its great size and weight, allowing for forward delivery of troops and equipment.

Based on a study showing 80 percent of the C-5 airframe service life remaining, Air Mobility Command (AMC) began an aggressive program to modernize its fleet C-5A/B/Cs in 1998.

The updated version of the Galaxy is called C-5M.


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