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Ex-RAF C-130Js to Blue Angels and Bangladesh

Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jen Blake

 

The previous ‘Fat Albert’ C-130T, which is to be replaced by ex-RAF C-130J  ZH885 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jen Blake)

At the Royal International Air Tattoo on July 17. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group hosted the official signing of a contract between the US and UK for a C-130J aircraft that will become the replacement to the iconic ‘Fat Albert’ for the Blue Angels flying demonstration team. The aircraft being transferred is Hercules C5 ZH885, which first entered RAF service in August 1989 and which has been stored at Cambridge since January 2018.

The contract was signed in the Marshall chalet at the Royal International Air Tattoo by Air Vice Marshal David Cooper, RAF Officer Commanding 2 Group, and USMC Major General Gregory L. Masiello, Program Executive Officer for Air, ASW, Assault & Special Mission Programs, in the presence of representatives from the UK and US Governments and Marshall.

Marshall will carry out the maintenance, painting and modifications to the US Navy’s replacement Fat Albert. The aircraft is a C-130J that the US Navy has purchased from the UK Ministry of Defence to replace the C-130T that the squadron used for 17 years until retiring it from service in May this year.

Group CEO, Alistair McPhee, said: “Fat Albert was an iconic aircraft and our teams are looking forward to getting its new replacement into service early next year. It will be great to see this eye-catching aircraft on show around the world in the future!”

Marshall ADG also rolled out the first of five C-130J Hercules it is preparing for delivery to the Bangladesh Air Force during an official ceremony on July 22. Marked with USAF serial 99-5479 the first aircraft is believed to be ex-ZH881 and will be S3-AGE on BAF service. A contract for the final three was signed on July 20.

Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat Chief of Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force, saluted the aircraft to the sound of the nation’s national anthem. Air Chief Marshal Serniabat said: “This is such a proud moment for the Bangladesh Air Force. The roll out of our first C-130J aircraft here in Cambridge is a landmark occasion and we look forward to welcoming the aircraft soon in Bangladesh.”

Some of the other C-130Js the Bangladesh Air Force recently purchased from the UK Ministry of Defence were also on view. Marshall is carrying out comprehensive depth maintenance and important modifications on all the aircraft including capability enhancements such as MEDEVAC, avionic upgrades and the provision of a passenger transport configuration.

C-130J 99-5479, ex-ZH881 was handed over to the Bangladesh Air Force on July 22 (Marshall ADG)

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