All I hear about are C-17's and how they are going to make our work load a lot easier and not what they are going to do with the C-5's. The C-17 it's primary transport for outsized equipment. It seems the Air Force is doing the something with the 17's as the Marine Corps wants to do with the MV-22, and that is to put all their eggs in one basket. The C-5 (A model?) has among the longest "down" times of any aircraft in the inventory. Yes, only applies to this base; I have no idea what's going on at any other bases. The C-17 is a new bird, and as such it gets used a lot to show it off.
The generals are playing with their new toy, so to speak. It has some advantages over the C-5. It has shorter takeoffs & landings, shorter downtime, easier to maintain, etc. But it's obvious just by looking that the C-5 is still the big boy on the block.
Both planes have their own roles to fill, but a C-5 can just plain move a lot more things then the C-17 can. From what I see at this base. So, the AF is upgrading all the C-5 B models here at Travis with all new engines & cockpits (avionics). The A models are going out the window, and for every A model that leaves we're going to acquire a C-17. So, as far as I know, this will be the only base with C-5s, KC-10s, and C-17s. (Not to mention our detachment of F-16s and TACAMO).
I think they're going to give the A models to reserve bases, but I'm not to sure on that. All this is supposed to happen in the next 5 years. It doesn't make you a little uneasy that our heavy lift long haul capabilities will be going down. There was an article today about how our air mobility will be strained if we have to go into Iraq. I can already see it, a stretched C-17. They did it to the 141's and 130's and they'll do it again once they decide they need an aircraft like the C-5's.
From what I understand they're not getting rid of the C-5. They're just not going to have so many at once base. They're moving the A models to different bases.
Some are actually increasing there airlift capabilities be upgrading the C-5 and buying a lot more C-17s. Affirmative, on the C-5. None are being retired. All are being re-engined, and the electronics in the A's are being upgrade to the B standard.
Supposedly this will alleviate the lack of mission readiness issues that plague the C-5. The AF did just order 16 more C-17s, and plans to do it again next year. It just seems to me that we need more C-5's as well. But I do like the C-17 replacing the 141s. That is a great improvement in itself. I thought they were letting the C-5 run their life cycles and going with C-17's.
These upgrades will keep the big boys going for many years to come. All A-Model C-5's have been upgraded to B-Model specifications except for certain engine bearings. That's pending right now. Lockheed offered a C-5 C model and 2 C-130J's for the same price America paid for one C-17. A great deal for airplanes that were already tried and true but the pentagon likes to take chances; or play favorites.
During the maiden flight of the C-17 in front of members of the Senate, there was an identical C-17 with the same tail number painted on it in case the number 1 plane had problems. It was flying just over a mountain range near the base and could take the place of the primary should it fail. During the time that the C-17 was being tested it couldn't take a full cargo load from the East coast to Europe as advertised.
The C-5 and C-141 could do it easily. What was the Pentagon's response? Make ALL airplanes stop in the Azores to refuel. We never had to refuel nor did we have cargo for Portugal normally, but because the C-17 couldn't make it, we had to pretend that we couldn't make it either. It was the biggest charade in the non-cold-war world.
We were trying to fool our own taxpayers.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.CombatCloth.info/. CombatCloth.info carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.