MARIETTA, Ga., June 19 (UPI) -- The modernized version of the massive C-5 cargo plane made its first flight Monday from a U.S. Air Force Reserve base in Georgia.
The C-5M Super Galaxy roared into the air at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in a milestone for the program to modernize the Air Force's strategic lift capacity.
"This is a big day for the Air Force," said Col. Kevin Keck, commander of the C-5 Systems Group. "It's a one of a kind aircraft in strategic airlift with the ability to carry twice as much cargo as other systems."
The C-5M program is aimed at extending the life of the big Galaxies until about 2040 by overhauling and upgrading the aircraft's avionics, cockpit and other systems. In addition new General Electric CF6-80C2 engines are installed that give the plane a 22-percent increase in thrust that will allow it to carry larger loads farther distances.
The C-5 is the only plane in the U.S. arsenal that can haul any type of equipment and still have enough room for a dedicated passenger compartment, which means a unit's personnel and its equipment both arrive at their destination at the same time.
The increased carrying capacity not only allows more troops and equipment to be brought into an operation area, but lowers fuel consumption and the overall cost of moving men and material.
"It pays for itself and them some," Keck said in a news release issued Monday by Lockheed Martin.