Lackland Getting Newer, Smaller Cargo Fleet In Military Downsizing Program

Apr 30, 2014

Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is trading out some of its C5-series cargo planes as part of the military downsizing occurring around the globe.

When the force restructure cutbacks were announced in 2012, the 433rd Airlift Wing learned its C-5A aircraft would be part of that reorganization.

"We're getting the C-5M models," said Public Affairs Officer Maj. Timothy Wade. He said San Antonio’s 433rd is trading out its big cargo jets in exchange for a smaller fleet of newer models.

"The 16 C-5A models here will be retired. They will be sent down to Davis Monthan to what we affectionately call 'The Boneyard.' And we will receive eight of the C-5M models to be used here at the 433rd for our formal training unit and also for airlift missions," Wade said. 

Wade says the newer C-5M is the same basic aircraft but has updated avionics and engines. Built by Lockheed, the first C-5s came off the assembly lines in 1968 and have been used by the Air Force since 1969, flying supplies, people, and large vehicles overseas for all major conflicts from Vietnam to Afghanistan. The first iteration was the C-5A, then came the C-5B, C, and now the Air Force is modernizing those aircraft into the C-5M model with over 70 upgrades and modifications.

Wade said the public will continue to see the weighty cargo planes coming in and out of Lackland.

"We still have pilots and loadmasters and flight engineers out there gaining valuable training on the C-5 aircraft," Wade said. 

The transition to the newer C-5Ms is scheduled to be completed by 2016.