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Blue Angels look to acquire a former RAF C-130J for 'Fat Albert' duties

March 23, 2018 (by Asif Shamim) - The US government are in the process of acquiring a former C-130J from the Royal Air Force to replace the older KC-130T 'Fat Albert' for the USN's Blue Angels logistic support role.

USN looks to replace the Fat Albert KC-130T with a C-130J

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to negotiate and award a sole source contract with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the procurement of a single C-130J under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, "Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements."

The Government requires a suitable replacement aircraft, which must be delivered in an expeditious manner, to avoid a gap in logistical support of the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron.

The aircraft being procured from the UK MOD has the requisite amount of life and technical capability to support the Blue Angels mission. Procurement of a comparable replacement C-130J from any source other than the UK MOD would create an unacceptable increase in program cost and delay in fielding this critical capability. This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals.

The above statement in the last paragraph seems to imply the NAVAIR has no free resources available within its current fleet of KC-130J's or cannot resource a J-Model from the USAF. The RAF have purchased the Airbus A-400M Atlas and have several Hercules C5 (short body) variants in storage and available for sale.

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RAF C.5 Hercules ZH882 from the Lyneham Tactical Wing at RIAT 2004. [Photo by Asif Shamim]