Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

LOCKHEED MARTIN HAS completed a study commissioned by the USAir Force into upgrading the C-5 Galaxy transport to extend its service life until at least 2030. The company says that an upgrade costing $35 million or less per aircraft would reduce the C-5's operating cost per tonne-kilometre by 45%.

Lockheed Martin says that its study shows that the C-5 fleet could be upgraded "at a fraction of the cost" of replacement aircraft. The study is now, being reviewed by the USAF, with no decision expected for at least a year. If the service decides to proceed with the upgrade, the company says, C-5 modernisation could begin within 30 months of contract award.

The upgrade would involve re-engineing the C-5 with General Electric CF6-80C2 commercial turbofans, increasing installed thrust by 22%, and fitting digital avionics and a two-crew "glass" cockpit similar to that of the Lock- heed Martin C-130J. Systems improvements and "minor" structural changes would be incorporated.

The upgrade would increase C-5 reliability while reducing operating costs, the company says. The study projects an improvement in mission-capable rate of 22-29%.

The upgrade would be performed at the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly AFB in Texas. The centre is to be privatised and Lockheed Martin says that it will bid to take over C-5 depot maintenance at Kelly, with a contract award in 1997. Winning that contract would position the company to perform the upgrade.

Source: Flight International