Lt. Gen. Thomas Owen, Aeronautical Systems Center commander, thinks it would be “a good idea” to perform the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program modifications on the 37 C-5A aircraft that the Air Force intends to retain, but are not now programmed to receive this upgrade. He said the Air Force “will look at” the possibility of modifying these A models. However, like all good ideas, it will have to compete among the many projects that the Air Force would like to do but can’t afford, Owen told reporters Sept. 30 at Lockheed Martin’s C-5 modification plant in Marietta, Ga. On that day, the Air Force took delivery of the newest C-5M Super Galaxy. The C-5M features the RERP upgrades, plus new avionics. Already the Air Force plans to upgrade 52 C-5s to the M configuration, including all of its C-5Bs and its two C-5Cs. Owen said he concurs with Lockheed’s assertion that the RERP mod “pays for itself” in the long run through reduced maintenance and increased capability. Further, it would be nice to have a single C-5 configuration in the fleet, he said, noting that this would make training and maintenance easier and more affordable. Lockheed would have to get long-lead money in Fiscal 2014 for the C-5As to prevent a production line break.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.