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Pacific mission demonstrates C-5M upgrades

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- A C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft from the 22nd Airlift Squadron here flew a Pacific channel mission March 4-5, 2017, to deliver cargo to Yokota Air Base, Japan.

“The Yokota mission is our proof of the C-5M concept,” said Lt. Col. Cory Damon, the 22nd AS commander. “The range and capabilities we can provide to the Pacific theater are vast. We are the only ones that can take all this cargo to Yokota without stopping or refueling.”

According to Damon, the C-5M is now able to cut out a stop at either Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii or JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and fly direct to Yokota AB without refueling. This benefits his team and the Air Force by reducing the amount of crew rest required, eliminating potential maintenance or cargo issues at the en-route location, saving time, in addition to cutting overall flight time, thus drastically reducing fuel use.

“We’ve saved 1,680 flight hours, use 34 percent less fuel and cut $4.8 million in fuel costs per year, saving 14 hours in one mission,” Damon said. “We’re able to get up to higher altitudes quicker.”

Damon added, the advances in technology not only help cut fuel, but allow Air Mobility Command to support a broader area. It’s not just the C-5M and the upgrades, it’s how it's employed.

The C-5A, B, and C models underwent the M model upgrade in 2014. The new ‘M’ model upgrade increases fuel efficiency and allows the aircraft to stay in the air longer, extending its global mobility range and capabilities.

“We save gas because we’re flying the ‘M’; we save time because we don’t need to do it in two days, we can do it in one; we save people because we don’t need to send three people, we can send two pilots and fewer loadmasters, we save en-route structure because we don’t have to get gas at Hickam,” said Lt. Col. Richard Linton, the 22nd AS operations officer.

Because of the C-5 upgrades and efficiency of the 22nd AS, mobility Air Force wings globally don’t require the extra maintainers to service the C-5M during the Pacific channel missions. This allows the maintenance allocations to be spread to other bases where they are needed.

The 22nd AS is routinely flying missions to Yokota AB, around three times per month.

“We are humbled by the fact that we do this every day," Damon said. "It’s normal for us. It’s just another mission to most of us, until we step back and look at what we enabled. The C-5 is a strategic asset, projecting strategic power because no one else has a C-5 and the capabilities that it provides.”