With extensive maintenance requirements on the rise, the aging C-5 Galaxy fleet is being scrutinized. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, has the challenge of reducing maintenance requirements as well as costs, while ensuring reliability, safety, and mission readiness.

Armed with expertise in C-5 aircraft structures and extensive experience in analytical procedures and modeling software tools, a team from Alion identified the aluminum honeycomb sandwich panels as the focus. The panels have high replacement costs and repair rates due to corrosion, hail damage, cracking and dents.

Alion subject matter experts performed thorough analyses and physical tests to determine that the current limitations for dent size requiring repair or replacement could be increased by more than 60 percent and still maintain a conservative margin of safety. By expanding the dent limits, maintenance material costs and man-hours have been significantly decreased.