Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Award for Harry the Apache pilot

Prince Harry has qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot - and scooped a prize for his shooting skills.

Harry was presented with the best co-pilot gunner award during a dinner held to mark the end of 18 months of rigorous training for him and his fellow military pilots.

The Prince - a Captain with the Army Air Corps - is keen to return to Afghanistan after his first tour of duty was cut short in 2008 and believes flying Apaches gives him the best opportunity.

He received his award - a polished 30mm round from an Apache canon mounted on a stand - at the dinner held at Wattisham Air Station, near Ipswich, Suffolk, where he has been training.

Apache Force Commander Colonel Neale Moss congratulated the Prince and more 20 other students who completed the course. He told them: "The Apache course is extremely challenging, teaching and testing students in their flying skills, decision- making and mental agility on exercise all over the country and abroad.

"They are assessed continually to ensure that they are up to the challenge of operating one of the most sophisticated attack helicopters in the world.

"This requires composure, dedication and hard work and I congratulate all of the students as they go forward to join an operational squadron and continue to learn more in their aviation careers."

The Apache attack helicopter is designed to hunt and destroy tanks, can operate in all weathers day and night, and is equipped with rockets, missiles and a machine gun. It is used in Afghanistan and was deployed last year in Libya in support of Nato operations.

Harry and his colleagues have now been awarded limited combat-ready status after completing training both in the UK and America, including live firing exercises.

Captain Wales has been assigned to 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps where he will gain wider experience flying Apaches and taking part in exercises in the UK.


From Belfast Telegraph