The US Navy have ordered a new ‘Fat Albert’ Blue Angels logistics aircraft from the UK, in the form of a used C-130J.

Scheduled for delivery in spring 2020, the $29.7 million contract was awarded to the Ministry of Defence on June the 13th for a divested C-130J Super Hercules.

The US Navy said in a statement that cost savings associated with acquisition of the used aircraft and other airworthiness requirements is approximately $50 million less than the cost of a new aircraft.

“This is a win-win for the U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence,” said Capt. Steven Nassau, PMA-207 program manager.

“Just as the Navy recognized the imminent need to replace the Fat Albert aircraft, the UK MOD was divesting of an American made, C-130J; aircraft allowing us to acquire a suitable replacement aircraft at a major cost savings.”

We reported in March 2018 that congressional approval was granted to proceed with acquisition of the British C-130J with funding from Foreign Military Sales proceeds.

According to the US Navy, the last dedicated Fat Albert, a C-130T Hercules, retired in May 2019 and now serves as a ground-based training platform in Fort Worth, Texas.

It is understood that the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron will continue flying Navy or Marine Corps C-130 Hercules assets until the delivery of the replacement aircraft is complete.

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Dont they have any of their own sat in AMARG ?


Im sure they have hundreds, but they probably need a huge overhaul, and I’m sure the RAF Hercules will be pretty much ready to go and been looked after. Shame we are scrapping all of our Hercules c5 fleet, but atleast we are keeping the 14 c4 extended versions untill 2035.


One extended hull was lost during Op. Shader, so we’ll be keeping one short variant I believe.


Shame we can’t keep the lot Lusty m8

Chris H

@ Cam – I suspect the A400Ms replacing those aircraft are far more capable …


AMARG only has one C-130J in inventory and only technically at that as it is the wreckage of USAF 08-3174 dismantled and in boxes after it was involved in a fatal crash in Afghanistan eight years ago. So that is a non starter… Taking an ex-RAF C-130J has a significant advantage for the USN when it comes to transitioning the support crew and load masters from the C-130T. RAF C-130J are unique in having the older Dash 4a cargo handling system in the cargo bay rather than Enhanced Cargo Handling System (ECHS) that all later C-130J were fitted with. USN… Read more »


It must just be the c130 they have loads of in the desert then, the j was the upgraded version wasn’t it, ok I just read all of your post! Learnt some things.


Yes they have lots of older C-130 in inventory at AMARG including ex-USN examples.

Nevertheless the Juliet is becoming the dominant variant in service and the opportunity to get one at a significantly reduced price over buying new with plenty of life on it and the Dash 4a cargo system which is fitted to the C-130T that is being retired is opportunity not worth passing up!

Chris H

@ Fedaykin – the ‘not quite fitting’ airframe parts is reminiscent in a smaller way of the problems BAE had fitting new wings to hand built old Nimrod fuselages ….
Ironic also, and comical as you say, that we built the jigs that made later C-130 aircraft better build quality.

Paul T

It only seems like yesterday that the C130J was launched,the RAF being the first customer.I went to the IAT at RAF Fairford in 1994 (if memory serves me correct) where the theme was a celebration of the Hercules.


I can still remember flying in and jumping out of E models and controlling A model AC 130 gunships… Lord I’m getting up there…



We still have 4 airworthy short body C-130J, that are unsold. I would convert them to simple ocean patrol/SAR, as the RAF looks like it will only have 9 P-8. I do not think it wise to use a high end sub hunter to find a lost trawler/yacht. Better to use a C-130J fitted with a surface search radar & an EO turret. The USCG has already done this. They can still use the cargo bay for freight. Also handy for disaster relief, as the sensors can be used to survey the damage, while bringing in aid.


I would swap them with the US for 4 C130 gunships then fly them in a circle over Brussels during brexit negotiations. But that’s why I’ll never be PM


I’d vote for you!


Kind of a pointless exercise considering Brexit negotiations are over as has been repeatedly pointed out by the EU.

It is either:

1) Accept the Withdrawal Agreement
2) Withdraw Article 50
3) No deal followed by the UK in utter humiliation coming back a few weeks later begging to accept the Withdrawal Agreement

That is your lot…

Chris H

@ Fedaykin – I am sad you felt the need to go down that road. But as you have you forget that with the EU its never over until it is over. If it was why have they extended matters twice? 1. The WA as brought back by the PM is dead in Parliamentary terms. 2. To even consider withdrawing Article 50 would cause a constitutional crisis and the destruction of UK democracy if some 350 MPs tried to overturn the declared wishes of 17.4 Mn electors. Those proposing such a stupid act should be careful for what they wish… Read more »


To be fair to Fredaykin all he did was correspond to a stupid comment that dragged Brexit out of nowhere. Considering how pissy everyone (society in general not this site) in recent times has got about milkshake throwing jokes, reckon its alright to respond to a stupid comment. 1. WA may be dead but as the EU have repeatedly said we’re not getting something miraculously different like Boris etc seem to suggest we will. Tentatively I can see a tweak to the backstop but doubt major change. 2. Withdrawing article 50 without democratic support would yes be madness. As a… Read more »

Chris H

@ Robert1 – As to why Feadaykin replied as he did its quite easy – He is a staunch Remainer and felt the need to put someone in their place. The original (unnecessary IMHO) remark, intended in humour possibly, could have been ignored. There is a difference between ‘stupid’ and ‘funny’ and its all in the eye of the beholder. 1. Not much different to my PoV but unless the Backstop is changed to be at least time limited it will not pass the Commons. 2. Democracy only survives when those who lose a vote accept that decision. As I… Read more »


@ Chris H ” I am sad you felt the need to go down that road” Your emotional state at any given time is not my problem. “But as you have you forget that with the EU its never over until it is over. If it was why have they extended matters twice?” They are trying to help a friend not totally annihilate its economy. “The WA as brought back by the PM is dead in Parliamentary terms. ” Totally agree “To even consider withdrawing Article 50 would cause a constitutional crisis and the destruction of UK democracy if some… Read more »

Chris H

@ Fedaykin – I thought we had got past your need for sarcasm and to project your superior attitude. But evidently not. I am as well informed as your good self Sir. The difference is I choose not to make it personal unlike you. So I will just leave it there rather than take many column inches to take each of your points apart yet again. Others can read into my comments as they wish. We have nothing further to discuss. Oh my days are very well informed thank you, not that you and other Remainers add much to the… Read more »


@Chris H

As you are well aware and we have discussed before I have no patience for deluded factually incorrect nonsense and will respond with darkly cynical sarcasm when I see it.

The moment I read “Article 24 of GATT” I laughed out loud! If that is all you have, a debunked magic fix then what is there to talk about?

Your protestations have no affect on me.

Chris H

@ Fedaykin – And there we have the total attituide of superiority poured forthe for all to see. Quote: “I have no patience for deluded factually incorrect nonsense and will respond with darkly cynical sarcasm when I see it” No you respond with cynicism and sarcasm at every turn. You can’t help it as in your mind you are always totally, absolutely and without fail correct. When you aren’t. You refer to other people’s opinions as ‘nonsense’ unless you agree with them. Your attitude is typical of those of the Remain persuasion who never offer one positive for the EU… Read more »


@Chris H

You are still pedalling Article 24 of Gatt as the magic fix all solution… It isn’t


Chris H

@Fedaykin – And you are still projecting a fabrication to suit your PoV. As you and all Remainers do. Its all you have after all. That is not what I wrote at all and I was merely pointing out that your mirth was somewhat premature as Article XXIV CAN be triggered given all the requirements are met (apart from agreement with the EU which, as you say, is ‘trying to help a friend’). It was also fun showing you (someone who allegedly knows everything) who the expert (that you hadn’t heard of) actually is and the fact he is referenced… Read more »


Is too bad the Brits aren’t willing/don’t have the money to convert a few of those short C-130Js into gunships. They would be useful in supporting their ground forces.

Peter Crisp

While gunships are great in theory and look scary as hell aren’t they quite a huge target for any adversary with even a half decent anti-air capability?


It’s interesting, I actually thought the C130 gunships where being phased out due to threat of short range sams, but the US has just purchased 32 brand new ones based on the C130 J. They must still be very effective in uncontested airspace. The amount of firepower they can unload in comparison to a single drone or even a fleet of drones is on a completely different level.

Daniele Mandelli

I’d read years back that DSF were interested, given their experience in Afghanistan.


Effective they are but that is only part of the story. The real strength of C-130 gunships is first the ability loiter for long periods of time, and second the ability to use accurate gunfire instead bombing allows for closer support of ground forces


The 40 and 105 has less splash damage than say a hellfire, so can be used in built up areas or danger close with less risk of collateral damage. The USMC have modified some of their C130s to Harvest Hawks. These are fitted with Hellfire, Paveway 4 and Griffen unguided rockets. They are also fitted with a plethora of electronic surveillance and warfare kit. There are plans to fit a 40mm gun to one of the side doors. These aircraft are dual role and can have the gunship kit removed to be return the aircraft as a tanker. So its… Read more »


Having called in a Spectre in Afghan, I can contest they are undisputed Kings of close air support. However, that environment was benign, there was no immediate threat to them, as they operate above effective small arms range. A couple of manpads were used, but due to their suspected age failed to properly operate.
They are still being used in Afghan, but also in Iraq and Syria. Again in Iraq there’s next to no threat. In Syria, they have to be lot more careful.
I believe a Spectre was shot down during Gulf War2.


I think the last one shot down was in Gulf War 1 (it stayed out till mourning and was flying at low level.
Several were shot down in Vietnam though.