C-5M super galaxy, military logistics, transporting helicopter
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Sexy Military Logistics: USA vs. Russia and China

Active Military
Active Military
May 11, 2017
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If you were looking for pictures of scantily clad women blasting 50 caliber armaments, then you stumbled on the wrong article. Reread the title, it’s not click-bait. The sexy I’m referencing is air oriented logistics; the teat from which a global force suckles and thrives.For the past four decades, air force technology has influenced and miniaturized warfare tactics, bringing finger-tip precision to the modern soldier. When it comes to the realm of logistics though, sometimes bigger is just plain better. Any nation with a fleet of military air transports can “airdrop” vast forces in a matter of orchestrated landings. Allowing a nation's military to go global and successfully mobilize in any area with a large enough airstrip.Alright, perhaps logistics aren’t "sexy," but they sure as hell win wars. From feeding soldiers located thousands of miles away to large scale transport of armor, massive airlifts are essential.Just imagine a company of paratroopers dropping down on an airport. After securing the air strip, a synchronized series of landings is sure to follow suit. Leveraging air logistics to offload a slew of armor, infantry and air support onto foreign soil is the ultimate breaching tactic. Simply put, air logistics are instrumental in establishing dominance on foreign soil. Now that we can agree air transport is the unsung hero of any military, let’s take a look at the three global super powers' capabilities.

The U.S.: C-5M Super Galaxy Transport

First and foremost, I gotta start with the good ol’ USA. Lockheed Martin’s C-5M Super Galaxy is the second largest military transport in the world. The original C-5 was completed in 1970, and was a key component of supply during the Vietnam War. The original C-5 was capable of handling four light armor vehicles or one helicopter. The development of the C-5M Super Galaxy has only built on that level of freight capabilities. The new C-5M Super Galaxy is capable of handling 142.5 tons of cargo, or according to Lockheed Martin, “six Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) or up to five helicopters.” The following video shows the transformation of a C-5 (which are still in commission) into the C-5M, allowing for a full payload range of approximately 5,500 miles.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60tbTYYmLVgAlso, be sure to check out this rare video showing the inside of the U.S. presidential C-5.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgB-_c1yGroSure there are plenty of other transport planes utilized by the United States Military, from the C-130H Hercules to the C-17A Globemaster III. But the C-5M Super Galaxy, with around 55 planes currently in service, is capable of delivering the ultimate global supply support.


The Russians: AN-124 Ruslan

Across the Bearing Sea, Russia is the only superpower with a larger transport then the C-5M; the AN-124 Ruslan, otherwise codenamed by NATO as the “Condor.” With a wingspan of over 240 feet, the AN-124 can handle 165 tonnage of payload. According to Wikipedia, there are 55 in service throughout the world. This number seems suspect. Partially because the number is referenced from a .net Russian site, but also considering the identical number of reported C-5Ms in service. Regardless, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is halting any more production for the Russians - the planes are manufactured in Ukraine.The AN-124’s range, under full load is approximately 2,800 miles – making it capable of intercontinental travel, but is only half the range of the C-5M Super Galaxy. Take a look at the video of the largest MILITARY transport plane in the world, the AN-124 Ruslan coming in on a tight landing:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqPhNCyrR-EJust for the nit-pickers out there, I want to mention the single largest plane (civilian aircraft included) on the market. It is based off the AN-124 and titled the AN-225 “Mriya.” The civilian “Mriya” carries a whopping payload of 209 tons! There is only one in service and is currently being contracted by the U.S. military for supplying coalition forces in the middle-east. Check out the AN-225 take-off, a sight that is sure to arouse any airplane enthusiast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jALTAeHLbQ

The People’s Republic of China: Xian Y-20

China has the “still under design” Y-20, codenamed by the Chinese as “Kunpeng” – referencing some mythological bird creature. They’re probably just waiting to hack a couple of upgrades from the C-5M’s technology, before being commencing mass production. Kind of reminds me of their fledgling Liaoning deep-water aircraft carrier, which apparently now has a second deep water companion…alas, I digress.The Y-20 is reportedly capable of carrying a 66 ton payload with a max burdened range of 5,200 miles.The People’s Liberation Army apparently has two operational Y-20's. They are both stationed at Qionglai Airforce base, although the PLA is requesting the build and acquisition of over 1,000 more planes.I’m not surprised China is trying to get in the transport game. They’ve had the opportunity to shadow and observe Russian and American tactics over the past couple of decades. Check out the Chinese propaganda video of the rare Y-20:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwsyFMmol3U

Final Thoughts on Military Logistics

While the Russian AN-124 may carry 22.5 more tonnage then the U.S C-5M Super Galaxy, its restricted range makes it inferior overall. In regards to logistics, a larger range is more important to dispersion of units. Thus, the U.S. is still superior to Russia when it comes to overall usage of air transport.China gets the bronze medal (not star) when it comes to their current air transporter fleet. The Y-20 still isn’t a “true” transport aircraft, although the People’s “Republic” is claiming the Y-20’s are production ready.Sleep easy for now America. Russia isn’t making any real advances in numbers of air transport, considering their current conflict with Ukraine. Yet we can't get caught resting on our laurels. China is building towards a more logistical military force, from air to sea. The thought of 1,000 massive air transports at China's disposal, with their massive land infantry (1.6 million land soldiers), sends shivers up my spine.

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