Prince William to deploy to Falklands next year: Britain

10th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Prince William will be deployed to the Falkland Islands early next year on a six-week tour of duty as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, the Royal Air Force said Thursday.

The deployment in February and March comes just before the 30th anniversary of a short but bloody war between Britain and Argentina over the disputed archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean.

"The RAF can confirm that Flight Lieutenant William Wales, search and rescue co-pilot, 22 Squadron, RAF Valley, will complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands... during the period February to March 2012," it said.

"This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flight Lieutenant Wales' training and career progression as a Search and Rescue pilot within the RAF."

RAF rules mean that William, 29, third in line to the throne, will not be joined by his wife Catherine on the posting to the windswept islands.

"It is conventional that deployments to the Falklands for all SAR (search and rescue) helicopter pilots are unaccompanied," it said.

Britain has controlled the Falkland Islands since 1833. Buenos Aires considers them an occupied part of Argentina.

On April 2, 1982, Argentina's ruling junta invaded the islands. They surrendered on June 14.

The conflict, in which William's uncle Prince Andrew served as a Sea King helicopter co-pilot, cost the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.

William's father is heir to the throne Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

© 2011 AFP

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