WATCH: Final flight of Royal Navy's Sea King helicopters over Portsmouth and Gosport

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The last of the Sea King helicopters flew over Portsmouth before arriving at a navy base in Gosport to be retired. 

The rescue helicopters flew over the city and across the Solent just before 1pm today (September 26) and then landed at HMS Sultan. 

Following 49 years of operational service, the final military Sea Kings made their last flight, passing Portsmouth on their way to HMS Sultan. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Following 49 years of operational service, the final military Sea Kings made their last flight, passing Portsmouth on their way to HMS Sultan. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Three Sea King helicopters made the journey by sky, while a fourth one travelled to the navy base by road. 

The large helicopters were visible in the sky from Portchester castle and several people stopped to watch their final flight. 

Read More: Sea Kings to fly over Portsmouth

Tina Willcox said: ‘We were just going for lunch and a walk around the castle. It’s lovely to see them. I thought there was only one at first because they were flying in a line. 

Sea King helicopters fly over Portsmouth on way to HMS Sultan. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Sea King helicopters fly over Portsmouth on way to HMS Sultan. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

‘We didn't realise it was their last flight, it’s lovely that we were able to see them.

‘It must be my lucky week, I came up here earlier this week and saw a group of swans from Fareham and the one in the middle was an all black swan.’

Read More: 147 fascinating pictures capture Portsmouth during The Blitz in WW2

While her friend, Jenny Shell added: ‘They were flying in formation. 

Sea Kings make their last flight. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Sea Kings make their last flight. Picture: Habibur Rahman

'I’m really happy we stumbled past when they were flying. 

‘There must be so much history with them, this being their last flight.' 

The Sea Kings left their home at RNAS Culdrose near Helston on the Lizard Peninsula of Cornwall at around 9.15am this morning. 

They stopped to reful at RNAS Yeovilton before flying over Westlands, where the Sea Kings were made, and finally passed over the various Naval establishments in the Portsmouth area.

The Sea Kings have been used in active service by the Navy over the past 49 years and flew their final mission earlier this year. 

The aircraft have played a vital role in many operational conflicts including the Falklands, Iraq, the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

With the Sea Kings being used for anti-submarine warfare, search-and-rescue missions, carrying Royal Marines Commandos into action and has provided airborne early warning and intelligence to the Fleet and ground forces.

But the Sea King helicopters airframes are old and the aircraft are now being retired. 

While the aircraft may be disappearing from the skies but the personnel and the capability will not.

The ‘Airborne Surveillance and Control’ capability will transfer to the Merlin Helicopter Force.

A new system called ‘Crowsnest’ will be fitted to maritime Merlin Mk2 helicopters, based at RNAS Culdrose, which already perform a number of important roles for the Royal Navy, including hunting for submarines.

Crowsnest will provide a vital intelligence, surveillance and tracking system for the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, capable of detecting any potential threats at sea.

It will act as the eyes and ears for the Royal Navy’s ships, providing long range air, maritime and land detection and tracking capability