Vickers VC10 jetliners fly last mission from RAF Brize Norton

A RAF Tornado refuels for the last time from an RAF VC10 over the North Sea On their final flight the VC10s refuelled a Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado GR4, Hercules, Boeing E-3 Sentry as well as each other

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The RAF's last Vickers VC10 jetliners have completed their final mission after 47 years of service.

The two aircraft took off from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, at 10:00 BST and refuelled several planes air-to-air before landing at about 14:30.

They are to be dismantled and replaced by a fleet of new Voyager A330-200s.

Wing Cdr Ronnie Trasler said it meant the base's 101 Squadron would still be at the forefront of air-to-air refuelling for "many years to come".

On Wednesday the Princess Royal attended the base for the consecration parade of the squadron's new standard, which also marked the end of service life of the VC10.

Gp Capt Steve Lushington, RAF Brize Norton station commander said: "You only have to look through the chapters of aviation history to find the VC10 has played a part somewhere along the line.

"Be that the returning of those people held hostage around the world, flying the Royal Family, The Queen, heads of state and Prime Ministers to all sorts of wonderful locations as part of state visits."

Largest aircraft

On their final flight the VC10s - affectionately known in the RAF as the "Funbus" - refuelled a Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado GR4, Hercules, Boeing E-3 Sentry as well as each other.

VC-10 The RAF's Vickers VC10s have taken part in one last operational sortie
VC10 during air-to-air refuelling The jetliner has been the mainstay of the RAF's air-to-air refuelling fleet
A330-200 The RAF craft will be dismantled and replaced by Voyager A330-200s
VC10 last sortie crew The crews of the final sorties of the VC10 before takeoff at RAF Brize Norton

They also took part in flypasts over Newcastle, Warton, RAF Coningsby, RAF Marham, Birmingham, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Leuchars, and Prestwick.

The VC10 was built as a commercial airliner but has been the mainstay of the RAF's air-to-air refuelling fleet.

It has also been used to deploy troops around the world.

Its replacement, the Voyager, is the RAF's largest aircraft, with a 60m (197ft) wingspan, and is also nearly 60m long.

The RAF bought 14 of the aircraft under a 27-year private finance initiative contract worth £10.5bn with the AirTanker consortium.

The VC10 will retire on 25 September.

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