Falkland Islands: Prince William Starts Six-Week Tour Of Duty

Prince William

PA/Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 4/02/2012 18:26 Updated: 6/02/2012 13:46

The Duke of Cambridge has taken to the skies over the Falkland Islands in a six-week tour of duty.

William arrived on the archipelago this week amid escalating tensions between Britain and Argentina over the disputed region.

On Saturday, the Daily Mail reported that the Royal Navy is to send a nuclear submarine to the Falkland Islands.

The decision followed Royal Navy confirmation that it had sent HMS Dauntless, its most advanced air defence destroyer, to patrol the South Atlantic.

The Ministry of Defence issued photographs of William in his role as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.

In one shot the 29-year-old is sitting at the controls of a yellow Sea King helicopter leafing through papers, concentration etched on his face.

The images also show William, who is part of a four-man team, consulting maps with a colleague in a squadron operations room.

William, who in the RAF is called Flt Lt Wales, will provide search and rescue cover for both the civilian and military population.

His role is to operate as a Sea King co-pilot, a post he has held at RAF Valley in Anglesey since qualifying.

The Duke's first shift involved briefings on the unique and challenging flying environment of the Falkland Islands and familiarisation with the location and the job he is to perform.

Squadron Leader Miles Bartlett, said: "A posting to operations in the Falklands is a vital part of the career progression for a Search and Rescue pilot.

"The experience they get here is second to none.

"It is a challenging and varied job providing an essential capability to the military and the Falkland Islands population."

Search and rescue crews have to contend with a variety of challenging conditions as the weather on the islands is often changeable and a significant number of the population live in very remote and rugged areas.

While search and rescue remains their primary responsibility crews can be expected to complete a multitude of challenging tasks including rescuing fishermen from trawlers, taking seriously ill patients to hospital, putting out peat fires or dropping off vital supplies to the isolated areas of the islands.

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