The Blue Angels U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron have taken delivery of a C-130J aircraft formerly belonging to the Royal Air Force.
The aircraft, purchased from the United Kingdom in June 2019, underwent a year-long refresh, which turned the former UK aircraft into the logistics and transport aircraft that will be used by the Blue Angels.
Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) and the UK MoD co-managed the refurbishment with all efforts performed at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG) in Cambridge.
“This has been a great example of cooperation between allies and professionals. Coordination and work to deliver this Blue Angels C-130J highlight a unique program office partnership with UK MoD and Marshall Aerospace. The team has worked through challenges to deliver this high-visibility asset to our fleet, and provide a ‘new’ aircraft to support our Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron for years to come,” said MajGen Greg Masiello, programme executive officer air ASW, assault and special mission programmes.
“We have all been able to witness the transformation of this particular C-130 Hercules transition into a valuable addition to our Blue Angels flying demonstration team. We are pleased to deliver this Super Hercules as the Blue Angels transition to Super Blues. Definitely a job well done by all involved.”
This is the sole C-130J in the Navy’s fleet and while it is almost identical to its sister aircraft, the KC-130J, currently flown by the Marine Corps, it required a collaborative effort between NAVAIR engineering and Lockheed Martin to identify configuration deltas and test requirements.
These efforts were done to meet U.S. and FAA requirements and included a major rework inspection, hardware and software configuration changes, and ground and flight testing.