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News > C-5M 'proves capability' with completion of Arctic mission
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 AMC facts show the Air Force began an aggressive program to modernize all remaining C-5Bs and C-5Cs and many of the C-5As in its inventory when the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program, or AMP, began in 1998.
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Dover lieutenant colonel, Spring Hill native, pilots C-5M on historic mission
Lt. Col. Thomas Loper, C-5 pilot, flies a C-5M Super Galaxy on a mission on June 5, 2011, as the aircraft is about to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker. The C-5M was was flying the Air Force's first direct delivery airlift mission through the Arctic Circle from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Colonel Loper is the 436th Airlift Wing director of staff at Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)
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C-5M 'proves capability' with completion of Arctic mission

Posted 6/21/2011   Updated 6/21/2011 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

6/21/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- So what makes a C-5M Super Galaxy super? The answer might possibly be the completion of missions like the first direct Arctic overflight from the United States to Afghanistan.

That mission, completed June 5 to 6 from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, was a "proof of concept" flight by the Air Force and Air Mobility Command. AMC officials say the result was proof that not only the new flying route could be completed by an airlifter, but also the C-5M is proving its full capability.

"I'm impressed by the capabilities the C-5M brings to the table," said Master Sgt. Bradley Bronov, C-5 flight engineer from the 9th Airlift Squadron who flew on the Arctic mission in a C-5M from Dover. "In the C-5M you see the airframe's potential fully realized. To prove that there is nothing in our inventory that can do with the C-5M does through a mission like the Arctic mission is a pretty special feeling."

AMC facts show the Air Force began an aggressive program to modernize all remaining C-5Bs and C-5Cs and many of the C-5As in its inventory when the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program, or AMP, began in 1998. This effort included upgraded avionics, improved communications, new flat panel displays, improved navigation and safety equipment, and a new autopilot system. The first flight of the first AMP-modified C-5 occurred on Dec. 21, 2002.

The second part of the C-5 modernization plan is the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program, or RERP, which includes new General Electric CF6-80C2 engines, pylons and auxiliary power units, with upgrades to the aircraft skin and frame, landing gear, cockpit and pressurization system.

The C-5 aircraft that undergo both the AMP and RERP upgrades are designated C-5M, also known as the "Super Galaxy." The Air Force plans to upgrade 52 Galaxies to "super" status by the end of 2016, officials said.

Capt. Brian Marasco, a C-5 pilot with the Air Force Reserve's 709th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-5M for the first time on the 15-hour-plus mission from Dover AFB to Afghanistan.

"What I like most about the C-5M is the thrust produced by the new engines," Captain Marasco said. "The increased power of the engines demonstrates only one aspect of the C-5M's capabilities of global airlift."

Staff Sgt. Steven Dow, a "flying" crew chief for the C-5M from the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and a member of the 14-person crew on the Arctic mission, said the M-variant of the C-5 has proven to be very capable.

"The C-5M is the future," said Sergeant Dow, who has been a C-5 maintainer for more than 10 years. "It's good to prove what is can do - especially with a mission like the Arctic mission. The C-5M is a great mobility weapons system. During our mission to Afghanistan the plane flow all the way and had zero discrepancies or write-ups. I love the C-5 -- always have in any variant -- but the C-5M is spectacular."

In 2010 and 2011, the C-5M has been involved in numerous missions across the globe. For example, it has been continuously supporting multi-modal operations that include moving cargo from Western Europe to Afghanistan. Also, in August 2010, a C-5M flew a 7.5-ton, $1 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer from the European Organization for Nuclear Research from Geneva, Switzerland, to Cape Canaveral, Fla., that was eventually loaded to the space shuttle.

Lt. Col. Scott Erickson, C-5 pilot also from the 709th AS, said the C-5M continues to prove it is "one of the best airlifters."

"Having been with the M from the beginning, I'm always proud to show off what it can do," Colonel Erickson said. "This [Arctic] mission shows it's the pinnacle of a great mobility weapons system and I'm glad it gets noticed for that."

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