A 1970 C-5A Galaxy was the last C-5A to be converted from a "legacy" C-5 to an Avionics Modernization Program C-5 in the Air Force and was completed at Travis May 6, 2012.
Since June 2005, 38 C-5 A/B aircraft were modified at Travis by the Lockheed Martin contract field team as part of a two-phased modernization program. AMP is the first part of the modernization effort for the C-5. The AMP modifications replace the old analog avionics with a digital avionics suite and it also adds a digital architecture connecting everything.
Lt. Col. Robert Griffith, Defense Contract Monitoring Agency (quality assurance) acceptance pilot, said Travis active duty and Reserve Airmen and Lockheed Martin crews worked hard to update the C-5, and that the acceptance of the last aircraft went very smoothly because of the hard work of all units involved despite runway closures and weather delays.
Throughout the life of the program, there were three aircraft undergoing various stages of the AMP modification at any one time. AMP changes include updates to comply with modern airspace requirements such as a new autopilot, a new communications suite, flat-panel displays as well as an enhanced navigation and safety system. The entire system is designed to increase safety, ease crew workload and enhance situational awareness, according to Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin personnel stripped approximately 12,000 old wires and put in 4,000 new wires in the aircraft while DCMA quality assurance personnel along with acceptance check flight crews observed work throughout the program.
Performing functional checks on the aircraft is the last stage of the C-5 AMP before sending the aircraft for an actual flight test. Once the acceptance flight crew completes their inspection and, when it passes, the aircraft is bought back from Lockheed and is put back in operational status, said Lt. Col. Tom Corcoran, the government flight representative.
The last tests before the final flight include preflight checks of new systems like the ground check of the instrument landing systems and checks of legacy systems disturbed by the AMP modification like the ram air turbine checks.
The 60th and 349th Aircraft Maintenance squadrons teamed with the Lockheed workforce every step of the way, providing dual support for seven years, Corcoran said.
"Of the 38 converted aircraft, the 312th AS flight tested 33 of them," he said, "(Two) acceptance check flight crews from the 312th flew over 100 sorties testing all aspects of the newly installed cockpit and equipment."
He said the test profile included a near-stall performed in a warning area over the Pacific Ocean as well.
Another goal of the flights was to test warning systems that pilots would never want to hear in normal operations: "too low terrain," "caution obstacle, "and "sink rate-pull up." The ultimate aim of these ACF flights was to ensure that the newly modified aircraft were ready to return to daily Air Force operations and perform more effectively and efficiently.
The AMP and ACF programs were extremely rewarding and a career highlight for the 312th AS crews, Corcoran said.
The C-5B aircraft will go on to the second phase of the C-5 modernization: the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. The RERP modifications consist of more than 70 improvements and upgrades to the C-5 airframe and systems and include new CF-6 General Electric engines that are less noisy, have more thrust and provide a higher climb rate than allowed by current engines. Once the avionics and engine updates are complete, the aircraft becomes an "M" model.
by Airman 1st Class Nicole Leidholm
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Source: Air Mobility Command
Date: May 10, 2012