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C-5 Galaxy - Military Workhorse

Large cargo plane is used to transport oversized military equipment.


C-5 Galaxy - Military Workhorse

When the U.S. military needs to haul heavy equipment such as tanks and armored personnel carriers, they turn to the C-5 Galaxy transport plane.

Oversized Cargo

The C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft has been a workhorse of the U.S. Air Force since 1970. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., the C-5 Galaxy is one of the largest military aircraft in the world at nearly 250 feet in length and with a wingspan of over 200 feet. The C-5 Galaxy is used to carry oversized equipment that can range from tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) to the armoured vehicle launch bridge – a mobile bridge that is used in the field to help the U.S. military cross ditches and ravines.

Since it was first introduced more than 40 years ago, the C-5 Galaxy has transported U.S. military equipment all over the world. The aircraft is the largest plane ever to operate in Antarctica. As of 2011, there were still about 30 C-5 Galaxy transport planes in active service with the U.S. Air Force. The military has most recently used the aircraft to transport equipment to global hot spots such as Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Size and Power

The C-5 Galaxy has a mammoth cargo department that is 127 feet long, 13.5 feet high and 19 feet wide. In total, the cargo area is 31,000 cubic feet in size. This allows the plane to carry extremely large pieces of equipment that would not fit in smaller sized aircraft. The C-5 Galaxy has a maximum takeoff weight of 840,000 pounds. The aircraft is powered by four large TF39 turbofan engines that are mounted onto pylons beneath the wings. The plane is equipped for aerial refuelling.

There are plans to replace the C-5 Galaxy aircraft with newer and larger transport planes such as the C-17 Globemaster. The U.S. Air Force is retiring one C-5 Galaxy aircraft for every 10 new C-17 Globemaster planes it receives. Lockheed Martin has also begun working on a civilian version of the C-5 Galaxy aircraft known as the L-500 airplane, which can transport heavy equipment for mining companies, oil and gas producers, and other industrial intensive industries.

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