Raw footage shows more than 10 minutes of the U.S. military’s largest plane, the C-5M Super Galaxy, in action.
The mission of this plane is to transport Defense Department cargo and manpower, according to the Air Force. With a maximum cargo of 281,001 pounds, the plane can negotiate relatively short runways and fly oversized cargo at intercontinental ranges.
Both ends of the plane open up so that ground crews can simultaneously load and off-load cargo from each end. It’s capable of carrying a range of vehicles including tanks, submarines and helicopters, according to Insider.
The Air Force has 52 of these planes stationed between Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Travis AFB in California, Lackland AFB in Texas, and Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts.
They are modernized versions of the C-5 Galaxy, a Lockheed-built plane first delivered in 1970. The push to modernize the fleet began in 1998 and converted 52 planes before wrapping up in 2018, Insider reported.
The service life of the modernized fleet is expected to extend into the 2040s, according to the Air Force.
Upgrades were made to electronic systems including communications and navigation, as well as surveillance and air traffic management to stay in compliance with airspace regulations. New safety equipment and a new auto-pilot system were installed, too, according to the Air Force.
The upgrades also included a new engine that delivers 22 percent more thrust, 30 percent shorter take-off roll, 58 percent faster climb rate, and boosts the plane’s cargo-carrying ability, according to the Air Force.
Overall, the modernization enhanced the plane’s reliability and maintainability, reducing the cost of ownership while also expanding its capabilities. The remainder of the C-5 fleet that wasn’t upgraded was retired by September 2017, according to the Air Force.