The US are in the process of acquiring a former C-130J from the Royal Air Force to replace the older KC-130T ‘Fat Albert’ for US Navy Blue Angels aerobatic team support duties.

According to a statement, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to negotiate and award a sole source contract with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London, United Kingdom for the procurement of one C-130J.

According to the statement:

“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. Interested parties, however, may identify their interest and capability by responding to this requirement. The Government will consider all capability information received prior to the closing date of this synopsis. Information received will normally be considered solely for the purpose of determining whether to conduct a competitive procurement.”

The UK is withdrawing the shorter C5 variant of the C-130J as the A400M fleet come into service.


  1. 22 Atlas.
    14 Stretched C130J retained.
    8 C17
    Plus 14 Voyager ( 9 full time ) which can be used for Troop Transport.

    I think we are in a pretty good place AT wise.

    Need the C130’s to stay retained for use with UKSF and not cut after all as pledged in 2015SDSR.

    • Agree with you 100 per cent. I’m just writing up another paper for submission included in which is a section on strike mobility which is the way I see all of the services going. we have to start thinking in a new way.

  2. Hopefully at a cost of more than at least the value of the spares ,but probably not.Surely the yanks have got something we can just swap it for.

  3. Flog them all back and stop pretending the wee UK air force is something to be feart. It’s smaller than other Euro air forces and tiny in comparison to others about the globe.

    • It may be small but it’s still the best in the world as it’s manpower are all volunteers and highly skilled. Unlike other ‘major’ airforces that may be volunteers but are more than a little stupid and do not have tha ability to think!! If it’s not something to be feared then why is it so respected by people who know what they are talking about?

      • It lists the U.K. RN as having 2 carriers, 13 frigates, 6 destroyers, 11 subs, 4 patrol craft and 15 mine warfare vessels. Obviously slightly old data and much of it makes sense, e.g. frigates, destroyers, subs, OPVs (assuming days of only Clyde + 3 x R1s) and MWVs but I’m struggling with the 2 carriers bit. No QECs are in service so I assume it’s not predicting those. If it’s data prior to Ocean’s sale then that’s one (helicopter carriers do count in these guys’ carrier classification) but the other? If it’s the Albions then why isn’t that 3 carriers? Argus? Ocean + Argus makes 2 but then where are the Albions?

        It also lists, for instance, 39 attack helicopters. The data is 2017 I think and I thought we had 67 Apache of which 50 are in service so that alone is more than stated. Are they in some way trying to factor in availability stats? I doubt that since it would be a huge exercise and a moving target.

        With our significant air and sea replenishment capabilities, good airlift and the fact that some of our critical assets, e.g. SSN, are so capable and bigger vs the French I am a bit surprised we don’t come out very slightly ahead. I suppose our appreciably lower personnel numbers drop us down a fair bit.

        • Julian we agree again.

          RFA, SSN, Airlift, UKSF, Chinooks as just examples.

          Biggest one for me is our cyber and intelligence capabilities with the UKUSA Sigint Alliance, or 5 Eyes as it has become generally known.

          How many of the French fleet of “frigates” are little more than Corvettes? I’m out of date with that area but from an old naval book I had many of them were.

          One has to be very careful when comparing numbers like for like without detail as to what those assets entail.

        • 6th out of 133 listed!!!

          Nothing pretend there sunshine.

          I’m quite proud of that thank you.

          Chris comment on 3rd above counted only NATO nations, which probably escaped you, so not down from anything.

          Has the chip on your shoulder about the UK cooked yet?

  4. Maybe a 9th or even a 10th C17 was considered before the production line was closed,but shouldn’t be an issue – if more capacity is needed then surely more Atlas can be bought.

  5. If people are wondering what is driving the USN to buy a Second hand RAF C-130J to replace the KC-130T is is probably down to the cargo handling system. USN KC-130T use the Dash-4a cargo handling system, RAF C-130J unlike most that use the newer Enhanced Cargo Handling System (ECHS) use Dash-4a.

    By buying a UK spec C-130J the Blue Angels don’t have to retrain their loaders on a different cargo handling system and use the same support equipment.

    There is an interesting Pprune thread that explains the shenanigans:

    • (Chris H) Peder – you utter buffoon we have no problem ‘raising cash’ at all. In fact Bond Yields are at an all time low. Not that you would understand what that means. But maybe if you Jocks stopped sending your £15 Bn a year overdraft bill to us we wouldn’t have to ‘raise’ so much ‘cash’ as we do now. You 8% of the population manage to create some 30% of the UK’s deficit…. No ‘wee’ achievement that Jock!


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