Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dover C-5Ms complete test in surge operations

by Maj. Ronald L. Betts
436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AFNS) -- The C-5M Super Galaxy team has completed another stage of operational test and evaluation with the conclusion of surge operations at Dover AFB. The surge operations consisted of 31 days of delivering essential cargo and flying sorties nonstop, from Dover AFB to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, without refueling to test wartime contingency operations.

"Our maintainers spent the last 12 months training for this big game. Not only are they hitting a home run with regards to operational test and evaluation, but they hit a grand slam during the surge. The C-5M is a strategic airlift revolution -- proven by successful completion of the Dover to Incirlik surge," said Maj. Stephanie Halcrow, the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, who had the responsibility for preparing the C-5M aircraft and personnel for operational test and evaluation.

During the surge period, the C-5M flew 34 sorties and moved 3.8 million pounds of cargo while saving time and fuel. Traditional C-5B Galaxy sorties include fuel stops at Rota Naval Air Station, Spain, which the C-5M bypassed as part of the operational test and evaluation. This direct flight to Incirlik AB saved more than 365 hours, 289 of those on the ground, and approximately 1.3 million pounds of fuel.

"The new engines have significantly increased the C-5M's capabilities," said Lt. Col. Mike Semo, theC-5M Dover program officer. "With the nonstop flights to Incirlik, Turkey, we delivered more cargo in less time to the warfighter. The direct delivery capability to the Central Command AOR without utilizing scarce air refueling assets provides a unique capability available to the DOD leadership."

With the completion of surge operations a significant milestone has been achieved in the operational test and evaluation, with two additional goals still to meet. The first will take place at Eielson AFB, Alaska, in December. While there, the C-5M maintenance team must demonstrate the removal and replacement of the C-5M engine in the extreme cold of Alaska, with temperatures forecasted to be about 30 degrees below zero.

Finally, the C-5M must have a total of 1,300 flying hours, which means the C-5M team has to accomplish less than 400 more flying hours to reach this mark.

Estimates place the completion of operational test and evaluation sometime in January 2010. Once completed, the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, the agency with oversight of the C-5M operational test and evaluation here, will present a report to Congress regarding the tests conducted at Dover AFB.