July 13, 2022 3.00 pm

Final flight into RAF Waddington for Sentry aircraft ahead of Chile move

A fixture in Lincolnshire skies for 30 years

The final of the RAF Sentry aircraft being sold to the Chilean Air Force completed its final flight into RAF Waddington on Tuesday night ahead of the upcoming move.

The E-3D Sentry entered RAF Service in 1991 as part of the RAF’s ISTAR fleet and was immediately deployed to supported Air Operations during the first Gulf War.

The ZH103 completed its final flight back to RAF Waddington on July 12, with the other two having already completed theirs.

The E-3D Sentry has been a fixture in the Lincolnshire skies for 30 years and was operated most recently by 8 Squadron at RAF Waddington.

Since then the Sentry aircraft have been involved in UK and overseas operations including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the broader Middle East and the Caribbean, together with a NATO role. The Sentry is also known as the Airborne Warning and Control System or AWACS

The Sentry aircraft has been flying recently to train Chilean personnel prior to them taking ownership, but the sale price has not been publicly disclosed.

The aircraft has been a fixture in the Lincolnshire skies for 30 years. | Photo: Parkes Fine Art Photography

The aircraft – ZH103, ZH106, and ZH101, will depart for the South American country before the end of July.

The E-3D Sentry saw extensive use during operations and with NATO. These operations range from counter narcotic drug operations in the Caribbean through to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which saw the RAF Airborne Warning and Control System force clock up more flying hours in Iraqi airspace than all other RAF aircraft combined.

The end of an era! | Photo: Parkes Fine Art Photography

More recently, the aircraft was employed on Operation Shader in the fight against Daesh and on Operation Fortis which saw them directly supporting the UK Carrier Strike Group.