U.S. Navy Signs Contract with UK to Procure Ex-RAF C-130J Aircraft for Blue Angels Fat Albert Replacement

The U.S. Navy has signed a contract with UK to procure an Ex-Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130J Super Hercules aircraft that will become the replacement to the iconic Fat Albert for the Blue Angels flying demonstration team.

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group today hosted the official signing of a contract between the US and UK for a C-130J aircraft that will become the replacement to the iconic Fat Albert for the Blue Angels flying demonstration team.

The contract was signed on July 19 at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) 2019 in the chalet of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group by Air Vice Marshal David Cooper, RAF Officer Commanding Number 2 Group, and Major General Gregory L. Masiello, Program Executive Officer for Air, ASW, Assault & Special Mission Programs at U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), in the presence of representatives from the UK and US Governments and Marshall.

Marshall will carry out the maintenance, painting and modifications to the aircraft before it enters Blue Angels service. 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 extremely proud to host this momentous signing ceremony at RIAT, the world’s greatest air show, in the presence of so many leading representatives from our two nations. Fat Albert was an iconic aircraft and our teams are looking forward to getting its new replacement into service early next year. It will be great to see this eye-catching aircraft on show around the world in the future”, said Alistair McPhee, CEO of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

“We are very much looking forward to taking delivery of the aircraft and are very grateful to both the UK MoD and Marshall for enabling this transaction and know that the C-130J Hercules will be a valuable addition to our flying demonstration team”, said Major General Masiello.

“This is a superb indication of the co-operation between the militaries of the United Kingdom and the United States. We know that this C-130J Hercules will serve the United States Navy as well as it has served the Royal Air Force”, said Air Vice Marshal Cooper.

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.

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