The U.S. Navy has announced a $29.7 million contract with United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (U.K. MOD) for a C-130J Super Hercules to serve as the Blue Angels Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron’s next “Fat Albert” logistics cargo plane. According to the U.S. Navy, acquiring a used aircraft to fill the role was approximately $50 million cheaper than the cost of a new aircraft. The new “Fat Albert” is scheduled for delivery in spring 2020.
“This is a win-win for the U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense,” said PMA-207 program manager Capt. Steven Nassau. “Just as the Navy recognized the imminent need to replace the Fat Albert aircraft, the U.K. MOD was divesting of an American made C-130J aircraft, allowing us to acquire a suitable replacement aircraft at a major cost savings.”
The Blue Angels’ previous “Fat Albert,” a C-130T Hercules, was retired last May and is now serving as a ground-based training platform in Fort Worth, Texas. As previously reported by AVweb, the Blue Angels are also in the process of switching from F/A-18C/D Hornets to F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets. The process of converting eleven Super Hornets for use as demonstration aircraft is expected to be completed by December 2021.