$33.3M to Continue C-5 Galaxy AMP-RERP Modernization
Lockheed Martin Co. in Marietta, GA received a $33.3 million firm fixed price contract modification for C-5 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) Production Lot IV Kits, Support, Spares and Maintenance Training Device Spares. Work will be complete in June 2008. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (F33657-98-C-0006/P00161). DID covered an earlier $98 million AMP contract back on Nov. 15, 2005.
Fundamentally, the C-5 Galaxy AMP (aka. C-5M) program is about changing 1960s and 1970s avionics to make the cockpit more like its commercial counterparts. The goal is to meet global standards while flying in commercial airspace and also improve the C-5’s low readiness rates. How big a problem is that? This story may illustrate:
“The Galaxy also has major problems, as was glaringly apparent during one particular C-5’s trip from Dover to Europe. As it readied for takeoff, an engine warning light appeared in the cockpit. The flight crew taxied the airplane back to the apron, the passengers got off, and maintenance crews investigated. After the problem was fixed and the passengers had reboarded, the aircraft headed out again, but another warning light came one – this time during the takeoff run.
Five more times, the C-5 attempted to leave, and each time there was a glitch.
Airborne at last, the heavily laden giant lumbered up to cruising altitude, but, some 100 miles out over the Atlantic, yet another warning light came on – this time, a landing gear door seemed ajar. The airplane returned to Dover for yet another repair. The C-5 finally reached its destination in Europe – but more than 18 hours late.”
Stories like this also help to explain why the C-5 has the highest operating cost of any Air Force weapon system.
AMP’s is the first step toward addressing these kinds of situations. Its main purpose is to equip the aircraft to fly in civil airspace by the most direct routes, at the most advantageous altitudes, with the most efficient fuel usage and cargo loads. The new avionics systems will allow the aircraft to comply with reduced vertical separation minimum, and also provides an architecture flexible enough to meet future communications, navigation, surveillance (CNS)/ATM requirements. They are also seeking to reduce the number of devices and wires, to reduce cost and increase reliability. All told, 12,000 wires are removed and 4,000 are installed during a C-5 AMP.
The program has displayed a philosophy of making the resulting additions as commercial as possible, in order to minimize USAF development costs and pay only for integration. That’s a change for USAF procurement, who is riding on the development work spurred by changing commercial requirements rather than funding development on its own. In addition to the substitution of digital “glass cockpit” computer screen displays, key Global Air Traffic Management avionics include:
- Future Air Navigation System (FANS) data link
- Aeronautical operational communications (AOC) data link
- VHF com, 8.33-KHz spacing
- Multimode receiver (MMR) with protected ILS, VOR, microwave landing system (MLS) and marker beacon
- Dual, embedded inertial navigation system (INS)/GPS
- Identification, friend or foe (IFF)/Mode S transponder
- Traffic alert collision avoidance system II (TCAS II), Version 7, (added earlier)
- Enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS)
- Backup air traffic control (ATC) data link printer, and
- Versatile Integrated Avionics (VIA) software system, with six primary “partitions” or applications, such as: flight management, com/nav/surveillance/identification (CNSI), com management, display services and all-weather flight control.
Even so, the digital avionics to be installed in the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) will enhance reliability only slightly. What they will do, however, is lay the required foundation for the major improvements that are expected in a follow-on Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP).
The idea behind RERP is to install modern engnes derived from General Electric’s CF6-80C2s that power many Boeing 747s, 767s, Airbus 300 and 310s, and other commercial aircraft. In 2002, Lockheed Martin awarded GE a $126 million contract to provide CF6-80C2 propulsion systems for the SDD phase. Following a successful SDD phase, the production phase could call for upwards of 500 CF6-80C2 derived propulsion systems, plus service support, at a potential value of $2.6 billion to GE over the life of the multi-year program.
The C-5s’ RERP phase will also install full-authority digital engine controls (FADECs), updated fault monitoring and recording systems, and much else – most of which requires the rewiring and improvements in the AMP. As USAF Mobility Division Chief for Global Reach Programs Colonel Brunderman notes:
“AMP puts a digital backbone into the aircraft. It replaces a lot of legacy analog dial systems that are no longer supportable and are getting unreliable and puts them into a digital format. AMP also allows the aircraft to interface with the digital controls on the new engines that come in the RERP phase.”
After completing the entire modernization program, the C-5s will be renamed the C-5M Galaxy aircraft.
This two-part upgrade aims to lift the mission capability rate from the present level of 55-60% to better than 75%. Lead contractor Lockheed Martin also claims the AMP and RERP upgrades will reduce the Air Force’s total ownership cost fleet-wide by 34% over the aircraft fleets’ remaining life span. the new engines are also expected to increase the C-5’s initial cruise ceiling from 24,000 feet to 33,000 feet, while providing the Galaxy with 22% greater takeoff thrust, 30% less takeoff roll, and 58%t less time-to-climb than with the C-5’s current TF39 engines.
The Air Force plans to “RERP” two C-5Bs and one C-5A to verify the hoped-for performance and reliability boost. A production decision on the re-engining program is expected in FY 2007. If results are positive 112 C-5A, C-5B and C-5C model aircraft will go through the two-phase AMP/RERP upgrade.
Additional Readings and Sources
- The Aviation Zone, ‘Home of the Heavies’ – C-5 Galaxy
- GE Aircraft Engines – Model CF680C2: High Reliability, Long Life, Low Fuel Burn
- Aviation Week’s Defense Technology International (Jun 13/07) – A400M Could Dominate Strategic Lift. Also covers the C-17 program, and C-5 AMP/RERP upgrades. There is some question as to whether the upgrades can produce the required readiness rates.
- Air Force Link (Sept 25/06) – Dover AFB receives new maintenance trainer. A training simulator for maintenance? Yes, and it’s working well for the C-5M AMP program.
- Air Force Link (Feb 8/06) – C-5 Galaxy aircraft engine test successful
- GE (Sept 16/04) – GE Engine Certified for U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy Program
- Aviation Today (Feb 1/04) – GATM-izing Galaxy: New C-5 Avionics
- Air Force Magazine (January 2004) – Saving the Galaxy
- Aviation Today (August 1/00) – C-5 Modernization, Step By Step