The U.S. Navy delivered a C-130J aircraft to the Blue Angels Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) this month completing the squadron’s logistics transport aircraft transition from a legacy C-130T to a C-130J.
«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 Major General Greg Masiello, program executive officer air ASW, assault and special mission programs. «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».
The aircraft, purchased from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) in June 2019, underwent a year-long refresh, which turned a former UK MoD aircraft into the logistics and transport aircraft that will be used by the Blue Angels.
Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) and UK MoD co-managed the refurbishment with all efforts performed at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG) in Cambridge, England.
«The UK MoD was proud to work alongside multiple stakeholders to help deliver this great aircraft to the United States Navy Blue Angels. It really was a team effort from both sides of the Atlantic», said Air Marshal Sir Julian Young, director general Air for Defence Equipment and Support. «This C-130J aircraft served the Royal Air Force well over the years, and I am delighted that following a refurb it will now go on to serve another military force. With its bright new livery, I’m sure the new Blue Angels C-130J aircraft will turn heads wherever it goes».
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.
«The teams were united in the one task to meet the needs of the fleet», said Captain Steve Nassau, PMA-207 program manager. «The return of an organic-based logistics aircraft to the Blue Angels squadron will free up much needed assets currently being utilized to meet the NFDS mission needs. Thank you to everyone within the entire NAVAIR enterprise and our allies across the ocean for executing this delivery with utmost expedience».
The aircraft, now bearing the distinctive Blue Angels Blue and Gold, will be sure to thrill air show attendees for years to come.