“Fat Albert” could soon be traveling with the Blue Angels, thanks in part to the Royal Air Force.
FBO.gov, the Federal Government’s Contracting website posted a contract notice looking for an urgent replacement for the Blue’s current Bert.
The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to negotiate and award a sole source contract with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD), Whitehall, London, United Kingdom for the procurement of one (1) C-130J under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, “Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements.” 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.
The Blue Angels have been without their famous “Fat Albert” since last summer, when the crash of a KC-130T aircraft grounded the fleet. The Navy and Marine Corp’s fleet of aircraft remain grounded. Recently, the Blue Angels announced new pilots for Fat Albert.
The Royal Air Force currently has a surplus of C-130J models that have been placed in storage.
The acquisition of a new C-130 for the Blue Angels brings several benefits to the squadron. First, it permanently fills a gap left by their current aircraft being grounded. In recent seasons, the team has had to rely on trucks or borrowing a KC-130T (mainly when Bert was undergoing maintenance) to fly in Bert’s place. The second thing a new aircraft offers is a chance to potentially change Bert’s routine.
No timeline has been given for this replacement aircraft, but the fact one is potentially coming is a step forward in this saga of trouble for Bert. Hopefully we’ll see her flying in the skies at an airshow soon!
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