Lockheed Martin inducts first C-5B for C-5M modifications

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Lockheed Martin on 19 August launched the production phase of a seven-year programme to modify 49 more C-5B/C Galaxy airlifters with more powerful engines and more than 70 updates to improve reliability. The induction of C-5B serial number 83-1258 marks the start of the low-rate initial production phase of the reliability enhancement and re-engining programme (RERP).

This first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the US Air Force in September 2010. The 13-month modification period for the first aircraft includes fitting new General Electric F138-GE-100 (CF6-80C2) engines and is expected to decline to eight months at full-rate production, Lockheed says.

Lockheed has already converted two C-5Bs and one C-5A to the RERP-modified C-5M standard during the system development and demonstration phase. An operational evaluation for those three aircraft is scheduled to begin in September at Dover AFB, Delaware.

The RERP is part of a two-phase modernisation effort. Lockheed is also upgrading the C-5 fleet's cockpit under the avionics modernisation programme, which involves all 111 aircraft, including 59 C-5As.

An ongoing review called the mobility capabilities study is considering the option of expanding RERP to include the C-5As, which were removed from the programme after a significant cost overrun in 2007.

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