The new C-5 transport configuration, the C-5M Super Galaxy, has had “phenomenal, magnificent performance” since its fleet introduction, said Gen. Raymond Johns, head of Air Mobility Command, Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. With it, the Air Force is able to deliver equipment rapidly to ground troops in Afghanistan, he said. The C-5Ms carry this cargo from Rota, Spain, on eight-hour flights into the combat theater. “We would not have used the C-5 before for a very critical mission” like this because of reliability issues with previous configurations, he said. Johns said he was recently at Rota talking to airmen who loaded helicopters onto a C-5M. These airmen told him that “the airplane doesn’t break” and the crews “wore out before the aircraft” did. “That’s how wonderful the new C-5M is,” he said. The C-5M model features new engines, reliability enhancements, and avionics. There are three C-5Ms already in service; Lockheed Martin is modifying 52 of USAF’s C-5s to the M configuration. The next C-5M to enter the fleet, the fourth overall, will be delivered in the coming weeks to Dover AFB, Del.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.