Prince Harry deployed to Afghanistan

Britain’s Prince Harry (left) walks by an Apache helicopter. The prince has been deployed to Afghanistan for four months.

Prince Harry has been deployed to Afghanistan for four months, the Ministry of Defence says.

The prince, an Apache helicopter pilot, arrived on Thursday night at the main British base, Camp Bastion in Helmand.

The 27-year-old, who is third in line to the throne, will take part in combat missions against the Taliban.

It is his second Afghanistan deployment – he spent 10 weeks in Helmand province in 2007-08 but was pulled out after media reported his secret deployment.

Captain Wales, as he is known in the military, arrived as part of the 100-strong 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps.

Royal Navy Captain Jock Gordon, Commander of the Joint Aviation Group, said: “Captain Wales, with his previous experience as a Forward Air Controller on operations, will be a useful asset.

“He will be in a difficult and demanding job. And I ask that he be left to get on with his duties and allowed to focus on delivering support to the coalition troops on the ground.”

Prince Harry is the first member of the Royal Family to see active combat since his uncle Prince Andrew fought in the Falklands war.

Rigorous training

The prince, who turns 28 next week, qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot in February this year after 18 months of rigorous training in the UK and the US.

The Ministry of Defence regard the threat to Apache aircraft and crew in Afghanistan as “low”.

The Taliban claim to have brought down an Apache in Afghanistan, but the British have never lost an Apache anywhere, from a total of 67, despite two minor crashes.

The Apache attack helicopter is designed to hunt and destroy tanks and is equipped with rockets, missiles and an automatic cannon.

During his previous deployment, Harry was a forward air controller, directing planes dropping bombs on Taliban positions in Helmand province. (BBC)

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