Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
|Lockheed C-141B Starlifter|
|First Flight||December 17, 1963|
|Entered Service||October 19, 1964|
|Length||51.3 m||168ft 4 in|
|Wingspan||48.8 m||160 ft in|
|Height||12 m||39 ft 3 in|
|Wing area||300 m²||3,228 ft²|
|Empty||65,542 kg||144,492 lb|
|Maximum takeoff weight||147,000 kg||323,200 lb|
|Capacity||Max payload 42,900 kg|
|Engines||four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-7|
|Thrust||90.1 kN (each)||20,250 lbf (each)|
|Maximum speed||912 km/h||493 kts|
|Operational range||4,723 km||2,550 nm|
|Service ceiling||12,500 m||41,000 ft|
|Rate of climb||792 m/min||2,600 ft/min|
|Avionics||Allied Signal (Bendix) AN/APS-133 multi-function radar|
In 1961 Lockheed Model 300 was selected by the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) to meet its Specific Operational Requirement 182 for a new strategic airlifter to replace the C-124 Globemaster II. Lockheed Model 300 featured a high-mounted wing with four TF33 (military deratives of the JT3D) turbofan engines pod-mounted below the wings. The rear cargo doors could be opened in flight to allow airborne freight drops. The shoulder-mounted wings gave internal clearance in the cargo hold of 10ft (3.05m) wide, 9ft (2.74m) high and 70ft (21.34m) long. The size enabled the Starlifter to carry, for example, a complete LGM-30 Minuteman ballistic missile in its container. The aircraft was capable of carrying a maximum of 70,847 lbs over short distances, and up to 92,000 lbs in the version configured to carry the Minuteman, which stripped other equipment. The aircraft could also carry up to 154 troops, or 123 fully-equipped paratroopers. The aircraft remained in service for almost 40 years until the US Air Force withdrew the C-141 from service on May 5, 2006, replacing the aircraft with the C-17 Globemaster III. Most famous Starlifter was C-141A Hanoi Taxi (s/n 66-0177), becoming famous for bringing back the first returned prisoners of war in Operation Homecoming during the Vietnam war.
Initial (and sole) production model. The C-141A could carry 138 passengers, 80 stretchers or 10 463L pallets. In operational use, it became apparent that the aircraft was volume limited, e.g. when fully loaded, its maximum payload limits were not used. The NC-141A is converted as Stratospheric Observatory For Infra-Red Astronomy (SOFIA), to replace NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory (based on the L-300 company demonstrator). Final aircraft delivered February 28, 1968.
The C-141B is a 7 meter stretched conversion of the C-141A. By modifying 270 C-141A's, the equivalent of 90 (short) Starlifter was gained. Also, provisions for inflight refuelling were made, giving the Starlifter intercontinental/strategic range. First flight November 5, 1979 and final conversion delivered April 5, 1982. The NC-141B was permanently equipped with Fly-By-Wire controls, while the YC-141B was used in the Have Bounce program, to verify rough surface stress on the Starlifter's airframe. In 1994, thirteen C-141Bs were upgraded to C-141B SOLL II (Special Operations Low-Level II) with Texas Instruments AN/AAQ-17 FLIR imager, AN/ALE-40 chaff-flare dispensers, AN/AAR-47 MWS and AN/ALR-69 RWR.
Modified C-141B airframes with glass cockpit, new all-weather flight control system, GPS-navigation and defensive countermeasures. a total of 63 C-141B Starlifters were upgraded. First conversion was delivered October 31, 1997.