The C-5M Super Galaxy, a C-5 Galaxy with 70 different modifications, including avionics and engine upgrades, arrived at Robins for PDM on June 5, and is scheduled to depart in March 2013. (U. S. Air Force photo/Sue Sapp)
8/2/2012 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- With only a handful of C-5M aircraft in the Air Force fleet, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex is currently performing programmed depot maintenance on this newest model for only the third time.
The C-5M Super Galaxy, a C-5 Galaxy with 70 different modifications, including avionics and engine upgrades, arrived here for PDM on June 5, and is scheduled to depart in March 2013.
In addition to the normal 70,000 hour, planned work package, depot maintainers, working closely with the C-5 Program Office, are also repairing aircraft damage which occurred several months ago while the aircraft was performing airlift operations downrange. The challenge is to accomplish these repairs with as little time as possible added to the normal depot maintenance flow time.
The damage repair includes replacing one of the aircraft's main landing gear pods with parts taken from a "donor" C-5A. This "donor" aircraft, earmarked for retirement and storage in the Air Force's "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB, arrived at Robins in late June.
"Originally we thought a team would have to be sent to the "boneyard" in Tucson, Ariz., to harvest the needed parts," explained David "Bubba" Stone, 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production team lead. "The beauty of this is the fact there was an aircraft scheduled to be inducted into retirement, and it was flown here to harvest the much-needed laundry list of non-available panels, clips, structural supports, hydraulic tubing, electrical harnesses, etc."
"There are only a few M models in service. Even with the recently improved mission capable rate of the A and B models, the C-5M is still a more capable aircraft, " he added. "Hence there is a lot of emphasis on getting this latest M-model through depot maintenance, repaired and back to the war fighter as soon as possible."
Prior to the C-5M, whose home station is Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, returning to the states, a group of engineers from Robins had traveled to Afghanistan in late April to assist in the aircraft's recovery.
The team of three avionics, hydraulic systems and structural engineers, provided on-site support to maintainers, resulting in quick repairs which saved considerable time to the project schedule once the plane arrived here.
Efforts to modernize the C-5 began in the late 1990s, with the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program to upgrade avionics involving communications, navigation and air traffic/surveillance management compliance, as well as the addition of new safety equipment and a new autopilot system. A Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program also added new engines which increased thrust, shorter take-off, and a faster climb rate allowing more cargo to be carried over longer distances.