C-5 Galaxy

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  • C-5 Galaxy
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Mission: Strategic Airlift

Lockheed Martin

USAF
4x GE TF-39 engines
270,000 pounds (122,472 kilograms)
518 mph
4,800 nm

One of the largest aircraft in the world, the C-5 Galaxy is the primary lift aircraft in the U.S. military for moving outsized cargo to global theaters of operation. The newest C-5M Super Galaxy has the capability to lift two M1 Abrams tanks and can transport nearly a company of troops and gear anywhere in the world with aerial refueling.

The C-5 is distinct for having both front and rear cargo ramps, allowing for much faster load and offload operations. Other features of the C-5 include its ability to operate on runways 6,000 feet long (1,829 meters); five landing gear totaling 28 wheels to distribute the weight and a "kneeling" landing gear system that permits lowering the parked aircraft to facilitate drive-on/drive-off vehicle loading and adjusts the cargo floor to standard truck-bed height. The C-5 also has the distinctive high T-tail, 25-degree wing sweep, and four turbofan engines mounted on pylons beneath the wings.

Developed in the 1960s to replace the C-133 Cargomaster and to compliment the smaller C-141 Starlifter, the C-5 Galaxy experienced a rocky design phase, plagued with wing cracks that delayed deployment of the aircraft until 1970. The latest C-5M Super Galaxy is designed with modern avionics and flight instruments and is set to remain in service through 2040.