A formal ceremony at RAF College Cranwell has marked Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton taking over command of the Royal Air Force - the first non-pilot to be the RAF's Chief of the Air Staff.
He is now in charge of 37,000 regular and reserve personnel and 4,000 civil servants, taking over from Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.
ACM Knighton will take on this role during a crucial moment for the service, as it evolves to meet future threats while continuing to conduct operations to protect security and support allies and partners.
Following the handover, he said: "I'm hugely honoured to be the new Chief of the Air Staff.
"For more than 100 years the Royal Air Force has played a vital role in protecting our country, our interests and our people.
"The air and space power that our brilliant, hardworking and innovative people deliver is more important to our safety and security than it has been for many years.
"I will work tirelessly to lead and support our service and those who serve with such energy, pride and commitment to make sure that we are ready to fly and fight."
ACM Knighton takes over with service life satisfaction among RAF personnel having dropped to its lowest level since attitudes were first surveyed in 2007.
Results from the UK Regular Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey 2023 show satisfaction with service life across the military has fallen for the second year in a row.
The RAF has recently been under the spotlight following reports there was pressure on recruitment officers to improve diversity within the RAF's ranks.
In response, the RAF says it will "not shy away from the challenges" of creating a service that recruits people "from every part of the UK".
The RAF has confirmed that 31 individuals have received compensation after their training was delayed – reportedly due to a diversity drive – and admitted mistakes were made in terms of when the recruiting processes finished and when the courses started.
Air Chief Marshal Wigston stepped down as Chief of the Air Staff after a total of 37 years' service.
He thanked personnel and their families in a final message as head of the service on Thursday.
Reflecting on his four years as Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Wigston said: "I want to thank everyone across the Royal Air Force – regulars, reserves, civil servants, our families and our industry partners – for your service over the last four years.
"We have been busy. We have engaged continuously on operations around the globe, from the Afghanistan airlift to securing the skies over the UK, protecting our nation. Despite Covid, we did not stop.
"Now with an established Space Command; the introduction of new aircraft, systems and equipment; innovation and modernisation across the service; a pioneering approach to sustainable air operations; and leading defence in the recruitment, retention and flexible employment of our people, we are set for our second century.
"The next generation Royal Air Force will be exciting, and I leave you in the best possible hands with Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton."
Who is the new Chief of the Air Staff?
Joining the Royal Air Force in 1988 as a University Cadet, ACM Knighton studied Engineering at Clare College Cambridge.
His early career was dominated by frontline roles working on Nimrod, Tornado and the Harrier force.
He has served as the Station Commander and then the Logistics Force Commander at RAF Wittering.
ACM Knighton has held a range of staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence (MOD), Air Command and in equipment acquisition and support, and has been closely involved in strategic and capability planning for the RAF and defence.
He has also been the Assistant Chief of Air Staff and the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability.
Prior to becoming the Chief of the Air Staff, he was the Deputy Commander Capability and People at Air Command
The ceremony, attended by more than 400 guests, comprised a unique parade with a flypast and the handover of the CAS Sword, which bears on its blade the name of the Chiefs of the Air Staff and the year that they took office.