Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group of the UK has been awarded a support contract for the US Navy Blue Angels’ ‘Fat Albert’ replacement.
On July 5, Marshall announced it had been awarded the contract to support the entry into service of the replacement for the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) C-130 support aircraft, which operates on logistical duties alongside the navy’s air display team.
Marshall will carry out the maintenance, paint and minor modifications to the US Navy’s replacement ‘Fat Albert’. The aircraft is a C-130J that the US Navy recently purchased from the UK Ministry of Defence to replace the previous C-130T that the squadron used for 17 years until it was retired in May this year.
“We are delighted that the US Navy has chosen us to work on the new replacement ‘Fat Albert’,” said Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group CEO, Alistair McPhee. “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.”
Lt Col Robert Hurst, PMA-207 C/KC-130 deputy programme manager, said: “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.”
‘Fat Albert’ 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.
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’ famous blue, yellow and white colours. The new aircraft is expected to become operational in the first part of next year.