The largest transport aircraft ever built, the United States Air Force C-5A, has arrived in South Vietnam for the first time.
The largest transport aircraft ever built, the United States Air Force C-5A, has arrived in South Vietnam for the first time. The aircraft has been the centre of a U.S. Congressional controversy, because of rising costs.
The C-5A flew from the west coast of America to Can Ranh Bay, on the east coast of South Vietnam, stopping only at Hawaii and the Philippines.
The 150,000 lbs (68,000 kilograms) of cargo it was carrying will form part of the permanent C-5A cargo-handling facilities at Cam Ranh Bay. Although ideally the C-5A uses this special loading and unloading equipment it can lower itself on its landing gear for normal on/off loading.
This C-5A was the first accepted by the U.S. Air Force, another is in operation and sixteen have so far been built. The U.S. Government has ordered a total of 81 from Lockheed.
Strict security precautions were in force for this first landing in a war-zone. The C-5A would be a prize target for the Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese forces. Only ten hours before the aircraft arrived mortar rounds fell inside the American base.
Deputy Defence Secretary David Packard told the U.S. Congress last week that the Defence Department is considering taking over Lockheed's C-5A plant in Georgia, to ensure continued production of the giant transport aircraft. Lockheed has asked for more than 600 million dollars (GBP250 million sterling) in emergency financial aid from the Pentagon technical and contractual problems.