Blue Angels' New Fat Albert C-130 To Debut This Spring, Updated Paint Scheme Teased (Updated)

The Blue Angels have been operating without a dedicated C-130 transport since their old C-130T model had to be retired last Spring. 

USN/Facebook Screencap

The Blue Angels are teasing the arrival of their new (to them) C-130J transport that will take up the role of Fat Albert. In somewhat of a cryptic post, the team showed close-up shots of the ex-Royal Air Force C-130J that is undergoing conversion to the unique Fat Albert configuration at Marshall Aerospace. One of the photos depicts a clear change in the classic Fat Albert paint scheme, with a slanted cheatline now separating the white upper area of the fuselage from the blue lower area. It also features the team's name in gold writing instead of blue and two gold stripes instead of one thicker one. Overall, it appears the new Fat Albert will wear a more modern take on the iconic scheme, which is bound to be a controversial subject among air show superfans.

The Blue Angels' teaser post, which features a screenshot of someone editing a video showing the plane, also hints that Fat Albert will make its triumphant return soon. The team has gone nearly a year without a dedicated transport. It wasn't exactly clear when the replacement 'Herc would arrive, but it has been sorely missed on the air show circuit and by the team. 

Facebook Screenshot

Here's a look at the traditional Fat Albert paint scheme: 

Cory W. Watts/Wikicommons

The Blue Angels' old C-130T transport lovingly referred to by its nickname, Fat Albert. 

The Navy finalized the deal in 2019 to buy the ex-U.K. Royal Air Force C-130J for approximately $29.7 million. The service had first announced its intention to buy the plane as a replacement for the previous Fat Albert, which was a decades-old C-130T model, the year before.

The United Kingdom had retired most of its short-fuselage J models, which it had designated Hercules C5s, following the 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review. The original plan had been to remove all of the RAF’s Hercules from service, including its long-fuselage C-130J-30s, or Hercules C4s, in favor of the Airbus A400M. Issues with those aircraft led the United Kingdom to retain 14 of the extended length J models.

As to exactly when the aircraft is slated to begin touring with the team, our friends over at Airshowstuff.com say the 'Blues plan on getting the new Fat Albert out on the road by late spring. With the team getting Super Hornets next season, having their new upgraded C-130J already locked in and running operations for the 2021 season will truly make it one for the history books. 

UPDATE:
The Blue Angels released their teaser video. The second-hand C-130J's serial is 170000:

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