The British Army has said goodbye to the Lynx helicopter with a farewell flypast around the UK.
Four Lynx left RAF Odiham in Hampshire as the aircraft is decommissioned after 40 years of service.
The tour took them past military bases and locations associated with the aircraft, before culminating in a chinook-led flypast along the length of River Thames at 800 feet.
Commanding Officer of 657 Squadron, Major James Peycke, told the Press Association that bidding "farewell to the iconic machine" is a huge moment for everyone who has flown the Lynx over the years, he said:
"It is hugely emotional saying goodbye to the Lynx after six years of flying, and it carves out a big chunk of your heart,"
Describing the aircraft as "hugely manoeuvrable", Maj Peycke said there is "never a dull day when you are flying" one.
Speaking before they departed, Maj Peycke, who was flying in the lead Lynx, said they would have liked to include more locations on the tour but were restricted by winter daylight hours.
Staff Sergeant Nathan Sharples, one of the pilots flying the lead Lynx said things need to progress and it is now:
“Time for the old girl to retire.”
"She has served us proud throughout the years," added the 34-year-old, who has only ever flown the Lynx.
The Lynx helicopter entered service in 1978 and has been used extensively within the Army Air Corps for a wide variety of roles and tasks throughout the world, including in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.
It was primarily a battlefield utility helicopter, although it has also been used to destroy tanks, gather intelligence and provide humanitarian support.
Still to this day, the Lynx is the fastest helicopter in the world, and, thanks to its semi-rigid titanium rotor head, it is also very manoeuvrable.
It has proved itself on different environments and temperatures, from the sub-zero environment of the Arctic to the dust bowls of the Middle East.
It is set to be replaced in the British Army by the Wildcat.
The Royal Navy said goodbye to the Lynx helicopter with a similar flypast last year after 41 years of service.
The Lynx in numbers:
- Engine: 2x Rolls Royce Gem (Mk 7), 2x T800 (Mk 9A)
- Maximum speed: 324 Kph
- Range: 528 Km
- Lenght: 15.24 m
- Main rotor diameter: 12.80 m
- Height: 3.37 m (Mk7), 3.78 m (Mk9)
- Armament: 62 mm general purpose machine gun or M3M 12.7 mm machine gun (capable of firing over 850 rounds a minute)
- Maximum weight: 4,875 kg (Mk7), 5,330 kg (Mk9A)
Watch this live as the four helicopters take to the skies for their final farewell tour: