A former RAF C-130J Hercules transport aircraft has departed for the United States for the start of its new career with the US Navy Aerobatic Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
The C-130J was purchased by the US Navy from the UK MoD following the reduction in the size of the RAF Hercules fleet. Prior to delivery Marshall Aerospace and Defence group at Cambridge have undertaken depth maintenance and painted the aircraft in the iconic Blue Angel’s livery.
"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.
“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 will turn heads wherever it goes."
Air Marshal Sir Julian Young
Chief of Materiel (Air)
The Hercules will now support the Blue Angels, providing crucial support by carrying tools, spare parts and engineers, as well as participating in displays, from the team’s base at Pensacola, Florida.
“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 programme 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 us with a ‘new’ aircraft to support our Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron for years to come. Definitely a job well done by all involved.”
Major General Greg Masiello
US Marine Corps
And the Hercules is not the only link between the RAF and the Blue Angels. During last year’s North American Tour the RAF Red Arrows met the Blue Angels many times, sharing the billing at New York, Chicago, St Louis and Miramar. Four Reds pilots were fortunate to fly training sorties in the rear seats of Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets.