Performance Capabilities of the C-5 and C-17 Cargo Aircraft

NSIAD-84-119: Published: Jul 9, 1984. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the performance capabilities of the Air Force C-5A and C-5B aircraft and C-17 cargo aircraft at small, austere airfields. GAO discussed its comparative analysis using information obtained from the Air Force and its contractors.

The Air Force believes that neither the C-5A nor the C-5B can routinely and safely land or takeoff from small, austere airfields, and this will continue to restrict routine operations of the C-5A/B to runways of 5,000 feet or longer. Air Force and contractor estimates often differed as to overall C-5A/B performance, but they agreed that it could land on the smaller airfields. The Air Force stated that the unique features of the C-17 will enable it to to safely take off, land, and operate at the smaller airfields. The C-17 will also be able to perform any type of current airlift mission.

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