Lockheed Martin's C-5M has flown for the first time, marking a key stage in one of the biggest upgrades of a military transport ever undertaken.

The aircraft took to the air from Dobbins AFB, Georgia yesterday, having benefited from an avionics modernisation programme that gives it a more or less completey new cockpit, plus General Electric CF6 engines with a 22% thrust increase.

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All pictures: © Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin vice president C-5M modernisation, George Shultz, says: "This new technology provides the US Air Force with more powerful fuel-saving engines and higher aircraft availability than in the past and will mean unprecedented operational and maintenance savings."

USAF C-5 Systems group commander, Col Kevin Keck adds: "The C-5 will save over $20 billion. It pays for itself and then some. It's a one-of-a-kind aircraft in strategic airlift with the ability to carry twice as much cargo as other systems. It's a force multiplier."

Source: Flight International