The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, Blue Angels will receive an Ex-Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter as its new logistics cargo plane.
A $29.7 million contract, awarded to the UK Ministry of Defence, for a divested RAF Super Hercules was announced by the U.S. Navy on June 13. The new aircraft is scheduled for delivery in spring 2020.
Cost savings associated with acquisition of the used aircraft and other airworthiness requirements is approximately $50 million less than the cost of a new aircraft, said a statement released by U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
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 Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron will continue flying Navy or Marine Corps C-130 Hercules assets until the replacement aircraft is complete.
“This is a win-win for the U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence,” said Capt. Steven Nassau, NAVAIR Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) program manager. “Just as the Navy recognized the imminent need to replace the Fat Albert aircraft, the UK MOD was divesting of an American made, C-130J; aircraft allowing us to acquire a suitable replacement aircraft at a major cost savings.”
In March 2018, PMA-207 received congressional approval to proceed with acquisition of the UK MOD C-130J with funding from Foreign Military Sales (FMA) proceeds.