RAF

Earl Of Wessex Attends Royal Parade Marking Retirement Of E-3D Sentry

After more than 30 years of service, the Sentry is to be succeeded by three E-7 Wedgetails, based at RAF Lossiemouth, in 2023.

A Royal Parade, attended by the Earl of Wessex, has been held at RAF Waddington to mark the retirement of the E-3D Sentry from RAF service.

HRH Prince Edward, an Honorary Air Commodore, reviewed the parade with the Officer Commanding 8 Squadron, Wing Commander Victoria Williams, the parade commander for the event, which saw a flypast conducted by an 8 Squadron E-3D Sentry.

In August, the E-3D Sentry aircraft returned back to its base, RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, following its final mission as part of the counter-Daesh Op Shader – signalling the end of its service.

Commenting on the parade, Wg Cdr Williams said: "The parade today has provided a fitting send-off for an iconic aircraft, the day is clearly an emotional one but we are all incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the last 30 years.

"The commitment and output provided to UK defence and NATO has been exceptional and I know that 8 Squadron will be looking forward to transitioning to the E-7 Wedgetail in due course."

The retirement of the Sentry will see 8 Squadron relocated to RAF Lossiemouth where they will operate the E-7 Wedgetail which the RAF states offers a significant stride forward in capability. This is not expected until 2023, however.

In a tweet, Group Captain Stephen Kilvington, the Station Commander at RAF Waddington, expressed his "honour" at hosting the Honorary Air Commodore, HRH the Earl of Wessex.

Group Captain Stephen Kilvington said: "As a previous Commander of 8 Squadron I am extremely proud of what the E-3D Sentry has delivered across its 30 years of service.

"It has been an outstanding capability operated by outstanding people."

He added: "The future for our intelligence assets is an exciting one.

"8 Squadron will introduce Wedgetail into service at RAF Lossiemouth whilst RAF Waddington will benefit from £94m of investment to support the arrival of Protector and our wider capabilities, ensuring our people continue to deliver exceptional operational output for many years to come."

Watch: In August, the Sentry aircraft returned to its home base at RAF Waddington.