Prince William Deployment
November 11, 2011 by staff
Prince William Deployment, Prince William will spend six weeks performing search and rescue duties in the Falkland Islands next year, the RAF has confirmed.
Flight Lieutenant William Wales, as the Duke of Cambridge is known in the RAF, is currently based in Anglesey.
He completed advanced helicopter training in January 2010, permitting him to fly search and rescue operations.
The RAF said in a statement Flt Lt Wales would ‘complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands as part of a crew of four personnel during February-March 2012′.
‘This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flt Lt Wales training and career progression as a search and rescue pilot within the RAF.’
The timing of the tour looks certain to prompt a reaction from the recently re-elected president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner.
Argentina has long argued that the Malvinas, as it calls the Falklands, are its territory.
When first elected in 2007, Mrs Kirchner said her country’s sovereignty was ‘non-negotiable’.
Next year marks 30 years since the Falklands War, when the UK launched a naval task force to retake the islands following an Argentine invasion.
A total of 907 were killed during the 74-day conflict – 649 Argentines, 255 British servicemen and three Falklands civilians.
Flt Lt Wales follows in the footsteps of his father, once a Royal Navy helicopter pilot, and his uncle Prince Andrew – who flew Sea King helicopters during the Falklands War.
Sky News sources said the duke was ‘very pleased’ about his deployment because it marks an important progression in his career.
For the Duchess of Cambridge, just as it is with any service wife, it was mixed news, the sources added.
But she is said to be ‘not worried’, as he will be doing the same job he does in North Wales, so it is not any more dangerous.
The presence of the future king looks set to prompt further Argentine belligerence over ownership of the islands.
British firms intend to drill for oil in the Falklands’ territorial waters, a move contested by Argentina.
In June, Mrs Kirchner called Britain a ‘crude colonial power in decline’ after Prime Minister David Cameron said sovereignty was not up for discussion.
At the beginning of this year, Brazil blocked a Royal Navy ship from docking in Rio de Janeiro in a show of support for Argentina’s claim.
HMS Clyde was at the time the Royal Navy’s Falkland Islands protection ship.
With Prince Harry soon to complete his training as an Army helicopter pilot, there exists the possibility that the brothers could be deployed at the same time.
Harry, who is an Army captain, spent 10 weeks on the ground in Helmand province in 2008 as a forward air controller, calling in air strikes against insurgents.
His next deployment will be a matter for the Army when his final training comes to an end in 2012, but it could see him again heading to Afghanistan.
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