Prince Harry in Afghanistan: learning to fly Apache helicopter has been Prince’s ‘biggest challenge’
AFTER more than 18 months learning to fly one of the world’s deadliest helicopters, Prince Harry will soon put his training into practice.
• Prince Harry returns to front line where he spent 10 weeks in 2007/08
• Harry completed Apache helicopter training in February
By learning to fly the Apache – the attack aircraft of choice in Afghanistan – he gave himself the best chance of being sent back on active service to the region where he served in 2007-8.
The Apache is used in a number of roles in Afghanistan, but all revolve around its devastating firepower.
Harry will act as the aircraft’s co-pilot gunner, operating its arsenal of weapons from the front seat, while behind him will be the pilot. Missions will involve targeting the Taleban in support of ground troops who have come under attack from insurgents.
The prince’s Apache is likely to be a welcome sight for soldiers who may be pinned down after being ambushed while out on patrol.
With its payload of laser-guided Hellfire missiles, it can target buildings being used for cover by the Taleban, reducing them to rubble.
For enemies out in the open, the aircraft’s 30mm chain gun can be controlled from the gunner’s helmet-mounted display.
Other missions will include providing escort cover for aircraft, usually RAF Chinooks, that may be carrying troops or equipment around Afghanistan.
Again, its complement of weapons, which include wing-mounted aerial rockets, will ward off Taleban attacks from the ground and, if there are any salvos from enemy fighters, they will be returned with interest.
The Apache can operate in most weather and at night, so can be used to gather intelligence in many types of conditions, including the harsh Afghanistan winters.
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