C17 Vs C5

When it comes to military transport planes, the C-17 and C-5 are two heavyweights that always come into play. Both of them have been developed and designed to provide logistical support to military operations, whether it be troop deployment or cargo shipping. But, which one is better? Is it the C17 vs C5?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both of them and compare them on various aspects to help you understand which one stands ahead.

C-17: The Workhorse of the US Air Force

The C-17 Globemaster III is an American heavy-lift military aircraft designed to support a variety of operations from military personnel, combat systems, fuel, and supplies. The C-17 aircraft is manufactured by Boeing Defense, Space & Security and has been in service since 1995.

The aircraft has a maximum payload capacity of 170,900 pounds (77,519 kg) and can carry up to 102 troops, depending on the mission’s specified requirements. It has a range of about 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km) and can operate from rough, unpaved runways.

With its advanced avionics and digital fly-by-wire system, the C-17 has reduced the workload of pilots, allowing them to focus on other crucial aspects of the mission. The military aircraft has an impressive ability to transport large amounts of cargo quickly, and its strategic airlift capabilities have made the C-17 a go-to choice for the US military.

C-5: The Largest Military Transport Plane Ever Built

The C-5 Galaxy is a large, four-engine transport aircraft designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The C-5 first entered military service with the US Air Force in 1969, and today, it can be found in the fleets of 12 different countries.

The C-5 has been the largest military transport aircraft in history, with a maximum payload of 281,000 pounds (127,460 kg). It is designed to carry bulky and over-sized cargo, including tanks, helicopters, and other military equipment. It can transport up to 73 passengers and has a range of roughly 8,000 miles (13,000 km), making it ideal for longer journeys.

With its reputation for durability and size, the C-5 has been a reliable transport aircraft for the US Air Force, with 52 models remaining in active service as of 2021.

Comparing C-5 and C-17

Now that we’ve briefly introduced the C-5 and C-17, let’s compare them on various aspects.

1. Capacity

When it comes to carrying capacity, the C-5 wins hands down, as it can transport nearly twice the amount of cargo that a C-17 can carry. The C-5 has over 31,000 cubic feet (878.4 cubic meters) of cargo space, while the C-17 has approximately 18,000 cubic feet (509.128 cubic meters) of cargo space.

2. Range

The range is another crucial factor when deciding on which transport plane to use. The C-5 has a range of 8,000 miles (13,000 km), which is higher than the C-17’s range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km). For longer missions, the C-5 would be the obvious choice.

3. Speed

The C-17 is undoubtedly faster than the C-5. It can reach a top speed of 590 miles per hour (950 kph), whereas the C-5 has a maximum speed of around 518 miles per hour (834 kph).

4. Runway Requirements

The C-17 has a shorter takeoff and landing distance requirement than the C-5. The C-17 can take off in 3,500 feet (1,067 meters), while the C-5 requires 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) of runway length. This aspect makes the C-17 more suited for operations in rough terrain or short runways.


1. What is the primary use of a C17/C5 transport plane?

The primary use of these planes is to provide logistical support to military operations by transporting personnel, cargo, fuel, and equipment.

2. Who operates C17/C5 planes?

Various militaries worldwide operate these planes, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Saudi Arabia, among others.

3. What is the weight carrying capacity of a C-5?

The C-5 can carry a maximum payload of 281,000 pounds (127,460 kg).

4. Which aircraft is better, C17 or C5?

It entirely depends on the mission’s requirement. If you need to transport bulkier cargo for long distances, the C-5 would be the best choice. However, for shorter distances and operations in rough terrain, the C-17 is more specialized and much faster.


In conclusion, both the C-17 and C-5 have significant advantages, depending on the mission requirements. The C-17 is fast, agile, and versatile, while the C-5 is designed to carry massive, bulky cargos for long distances.

In the end, regardless of the transport plane, these heavy-lift military aircraft are essential in providing logistical support, crucial in supporting and protecting our troops in various military operations worldwide.