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Here's Why the C-5 Galaxy Is Such a Badass Plane -

Here's Why the C-5 Galaxy Is Such a Badass Plane por U.S MILITARY DISTRICT   9 mess atrás

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Here's Why the C-5 Galaxy Is Such a Badass Plane

The largest military transport in the U.S.'s arsenal is also one of the largest planes in the world. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the aptly named C-5 Galaxy, and it's been five decades worth celebrating.

With the ability to swallow 50-ton main battle tanks and deposit them on another continent, the Galaxy is an essential part of the global logistics system. As Air Force historian John Leland noted, the C-5 "symbolized the size, power, might and majesty of the United States Air Force," and it still does to this day. For a half-century, the Galaxy has kept America’s armed forces, allies, and far-flung scientists well supplied in the most remote corners of the Earth, and it will continue to do the job for the foreseeable future.

It's hard to wrap your head around the sheer size of the C-5. The most recent version, the C-5M, is 247 feet long. That's twelve feet longer than an Airbus A380 superjumbo civilian jetliner. It has a wingspan of 222.8 feet, with each wing as long as a basketball court. The aircraft stands 65 feet tall, the equivalent of a six-and- a-half story building.

The Galaxy is so galactic it won't fit inside many hangars. In some cases the C-5 mostly fits inside and the Air Force simply cuts a hole in the sliding doors for its whale-shaped tail to stick out. Other times, it just sits outside.

The C-5 was built to carry more cargo than any other plane. The C-5M can lift more than a quarter million pounds, and the approximately 34,000-cubic-foot cargo bay is large enough to contain one tank, six helicopters, or 24,844,746 ping pong balls. The gargantuan airplane can fly 5,524 miles with 120,000 pounds of cargo without refueling. With midair refueling, the C-5 has practically unlimited range.

The C-5 Galaxy started with a requirement: The Air Force wanted a transport capable of carrying all the equipment necessary for a U.S. Army division halfway across the world. While transports of the time, including the C-130 Hercules and now-extinct C-141 Starlifter, were big, they simply couldn’t handle the most important item: the new M60 main battle tank.

The M60 was 30 feet long, ten feet high, and weighed 50 tons. The Air Force issued a requirement for a new super heavy transport plane, CX-LHS, and set a performance goal of carrying 100,000 pounds a distance of 4,500 nautical miles at 440 knots. The plane that could do it would be not only the largest airplane in U.S. military service, but the largest airplane in the world. It was a heady time in American history, when the country could easily fund a race to the moon, the Vietnam War, and building the largest airplane ever.

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