Contract awarded to upgrade C-5 avionics

A U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-5 Galaxy aircraft arrives at the Stuttgart Army Airfield, Germany, March 2, 2016. (Army photograph by Spec. Jason Johnston)

The largest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, will receive key upgrades, after the Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate recently awarded an Alternate Modification Installation contract — worth up to $92.8 million — to Tyonek Native Corporation, to install avionic modifications on the C-5 Galaxy fleet.

Designed to improve the performance and effectiveness of the aircraft, the modifications will upgrade the Core Mission Computer and Color Weather Radar system, the Communications, Navigation, Surveillance, and Air Traffic Management system, as well as the Pylon Hydraulic Check Values. In addition, the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System onboard will receive the Block 30 upgrade.

This is the first time the directorate has used an AMI contract, which is a small business contract that allows the business to play a supporting role to Air Force depots — where major repair, maintenance and modifications on aircraft generally take place.

Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772 (HMH-772) off load an AH-1U Cobra from a C-5 Galaxy on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, June 7, 2013. The C-5 was carrying aircraft and personnel from HMH-772. HMH-772 is participating in the Unit Deployment Program. (Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Jeraco Jenkins)

The AMI contract is specifically designed to focus on avionics, electrical and mechanical modifications as opposed to structural modifications, which will be left to depots.

The contract is also designed to shorten the time it takes to install modifications, in order to get the aircraft back into the field and supporting operations around the world.

In this case, modifications on the C-5 will take 46 days per aircraft, versus the three months per aircraft — pending program depot maintenance requirements and speed-line constraints — that it would have taken through traditional contracts.

Two C-5s received the modifications prior to the AMI contract. Modifications on the 50 remaining aircraft in the C-5 fleet, are scheduled to begin on June 28, 2021, and conclude by July 2025.

“This contract is a big deal,” said Capt. Denzel Varnado, the directorate’s AMI program manager. “This contract ensures that we are not only able to get the warfighter these upgraded weapon systems [C-5s] quickly, but to also have the flexibility to make changes as required. These advantages are a huge win for the C-5 platform and our troops. As the Air Force becomes more agile, a contract like this will play a key role in our success.”

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