Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group announced it has been awarded the contract to support the entry into service of the new replacement for the Blue Angels’ iconic Fat Albert, the C-130 support aircraft to the U.S. Navy’s air display team.
Marshall will carry out the maintenance, paint and minor modifications to the Navy’s replacement ‘Fat Albert’. The aircraft is a C-130J that the Navy recently purchased from the UK Ministry of Defence to replace the C-130T that the squadron used for 17 years until May this year.
“We are delighted that the US Navy has chosen us to work on the new replacement Fat Albert”, said Alistair McPhee, CEO of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group. “We have worked on Royal Air Force C-130s for 50 years and we support a number of international Air Force customers who have purchased surplus C-130s from the UK MOD. It feels like a natural progression for us, but very exciting nevertheless. Fat Albert is a head-turner and plays a major part in supporting the Blue Angels’ display team.”
Marshall will perform depth maintenance on the aircraft, which will include an upgrade to some of its systems to align them to the retired Fat Albert. It will then be repainted in the Blue Angels’ iconic blue, yellow and white colours.
“Our partners at the UK MOD and Marshall have been instrumental in executing this extremely challenging acquisition. We have always had a great partnership with the UK and this only adds to the list of ways we accomplish great things together”, said Lt. Col. Robert Hurst, PMA-207 C/KC-130 Deputy Program Manager.
Fat Albert serves as the Blue Angels’ Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) logistical support aircraft. It takes part in the display team’s flying performances, as well as being a crucial support aircraft, carrying the Blue Angels’ tools, spare parts and engineers.
The last dedicated Fat Albert, a C-130T Hercules, was retired May 2019 and now serves as a ground-based training platform in Fort Worth, Texas. Blue Angels uses Fat Albert for their logistics, carrying spare parts, equipment, and to carry support personnel between shows.
The new Fat Albert, a C-130J Super Hercules four-engine six-blade turboprop aircraft, is expected to be operational in the first part of next year.