Prince Harry begins Apache deployment
07 September 2012
Prince Harry has arrived in Afghanistan to begin a four-month operational tour as an Apache helicopter pilot, it has been announced.
The prince, known as Captain Wales in the Army Air Corps' 662 Squadron, completed his Apache training in February this year and was awarded 'best co-pilot gunner' for his performance on the course.
Harry will be working within the Joint Aviation Group (JAG) providing Apache helicopter support from Camp Bastion to ISAF troops in Afghanistan's Regional Command South West.
The prince will carry out tasking including surveillance, deterrence, attack and escort duties.
Having been trained as an Apache mission commander, Harry will operate the Apache's sights, sensors and weapons systems.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, deputy commander of the JAG and Commanding Officer of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, said Harry was taking part in a "long-planned and scheduled deployment to provide support to ISAF and Afghan forces operating in Helmand".
"It is a demanding job for my soldiers and all of them including Captain Wales are now focusing on the job in hand. I have every confidence that the team will deliver what is asked of them," he said.
Commander of the JAG, Captain Jock Gordon RN, said Harry's previous experience as a Forward Air Controller would be a "useful asset" to JAG.
"Working alongside his colleagues in the squadron, 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 coalition forces on the ground."
The MoD insisted that the increased risk to the prince and those around him had been thoroughly assessed before the deployment.