The C-5M Super Galaxy could reach initial operational capability as early as January, officials said. The Air Force accepted the 16th C-5M Super Galaxy from Lockheed Martin on Thursday at the company’s Marietta, Ga. plant, in anticipation of ferrying it to Dover AFB, Del. early next week, company C-5M program Vice President Greg Ullmer told the Daily Report Wednesday. That delivery sets the stage for USAF declaring IOC with the system. Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Paul Selva told the DR that IOC required 16 aircraft delivered “to an operational wing.” However, it also requires adequate numbers of trained aircrews and maintenance personnel on hand; sufficient spares at the operating station and at forward supply locations; support and diagnostic test gear in place at Dover and at enroute bases, and a depot repair capability. AMC said all those criteria should be met in early January. The Air Force expects to get 52 C-5Ms out of the program by the end of Fiscal 2016, converting all its C-5Bs, one C-5A, and two C-5Cs to the modernized configuration, which features new engines and many other improvements. Selva said the C-5M is “delivering magnificent capability” in achieving on-time departures “in the high 80s, low 90s” percentage of the time. Mission capable rates are beating the 75 percent required by the contract, Selva said. However, he said the remainign A variants will go to the boneyard because there is no “business case” for modifying them. However, they are to be kept in “Type 1000” storage, meaning they could be restored to flying condition.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.