US Air Force to upgrade C-5M Super Galaxy cockpit controls and displays

The Air Force’s largest cargo plane will undergo an avionics upgrade program, including a high-resolution, large-area cockpit display system from Intellisense. (Photo courtesy of Intellisense)

The US Air Force is upgrading its fleet of C-5M Super Galaxy transport aircraft with new cockpit displays under a recently announced contract with Intellisense Systems, a supplier of sensor and display electronics. aircraft based in Torrance, California.

According to a June 7 announcement from Intellisense, the contract will provide “replacement multifunction controls and displays” (RMCDs) for military cargo transport aircraft. Intellisense will replace the existing displays on the C-5M with an upgraded version of the Video Display Terminal or VDT-1209s currently in service on the MC-130J.

Some of the upgrade details released by Intellisense confirm that the upgrade will be enabled by the PU-3000 multi-core avionics computer first introduced by CMC Electronics last year. This selection of the PU-3000 comes a year after it became the industry’s first avionics computer to use multi-core processors certified for Design Assurance Level (DAL) A, the highest level of design assurance requirements. insurance imposed by civil aviation authorities for safety-critical aircraft hardware and software. .

The video display terminal, VDT-1209, developed by Intellisense, will replace existing screens on the C-5M fleet. (Photo courtesy of Intellisense)

The existing C-5M cockpit configuration includes six multi-function smart displays that provide the pilot, co-pilot and flight engineers with primary flight and navigation information, according to Intellisense. The six screens will be replaced by the company’s 15-inch full-size display and three separate GPU line-replaceable units (LRUs).

There are currently 52 total C-5Ms in service with the Air Force. At 143 feet, 9 inches long and with a maximum takeoff weight of 840,000 pounds, it is the third-largest aircraft in the world and the largest in Air Force inventory.

Airmen assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron from Travis AFB, Calif., unload 120,000 pounds of cargo from a C-5M Super Galaxy April 1 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of the US Air Force)

Lockheed Martin began delivering the C-5M to the Air Force in 1970, and the aircraft underwent several avionics refresh programs during its 50-year lifespan. The most recent includes development work that began in 2014 and continued into the 2020s, with the Air Force’s fiscal year 2021 budget request including $50 million for upgrades communication, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM), according to previous reports by daily defensea sister publication of International Avionics.

Jack McParlane, director of business development for Intellisense’s airborne systems department, in a statement called the C-5M RMCD’s victory “an important milestone” for the company. “Not only will we provide a primary flight display for a critical USAF aircraft, but we will also integrate and supply the complete C-5M cockpit display system, including state-of-the-art multi-core avionics computers. technology from CMC Electronics,” he said. “The scope of the program further demonstrates our ability to address flight-critical avionics beyond simple displays.”

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