A used Royal Air Force C-130J could soon be supporting the US Navy’s Blue Angels fighter demonstration team as a long-term replacement for the team’s famous “Fat Albert”.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) plans to quickly buy one of the RAF’s C-130Js to “avoid a gap in logistical support of the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron”, according to a government acquisition notice posted on 23 March.
“The aircraft under consideration is a mid-life aircraft that meets all Fat Albert requirements,” NAVAIR tells FlightGlobal.
The Navy could buy a new C-130J from Lockheed, but the acquisition notice says the Blue Angels team can’t afford to wait.
“Procurement of a comparable replacement C-130J from any source other than the UK [Ministry of Defence] would create an unacceptable increase in program cost and delay in fielding this critical capability,” the government notice says.
The existing Fat Albert role is performed by a Lockheed Martin C-130T. It provides logistics support for the team and performs its own aerial demonstration, which typically includes a high-performance take-off, several passes over the runway and a short-field landing.
The US Marine Corps grounded the C-130Ts last July after one of the aircraft crashed in Mississippi, killing all 16 aboard.