Prince William starts Falklands duty with RAF

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Media caption,

Prince William takes to the skies (Footage courtesy of the MoD)

Prince William has started work as an RAF search and rescue pilot in the Falkland Islands.

The Duke of Cambridge will be part of a four-man crew in the territory providing cover for both the civilian and military population.

The six-week deployment will see Flight Lieutenant Wales operate as a Sea King co-pilot, a post he has held at RAF Valley in Anglesey since qualifying.

His arrival comes amid renewed tensions between the UK and Argentina.

A six-week deployment to the Falklands is routine for search and rescue pilots at this stage of their career, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

'Challenging and varied'

Pictures released by the MoD show the prince being briefed about the unique and challenging flying environment of the islands.

Squadron Leader Miles Bartlett, search and rescue commanding officer, said a posting to operations in the Falklands was "a vital part" of career progression for a search and rescue pilot.

Image caption,
The prince is likely to contend with a variety of challenging conditions

"The experience they get here is second-to-none," he said.

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

The prince is likely 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.

Previous tasks have included rescuing fishermen from trawlers, taking seriously ill patients to hospital, putting out peat fires and dropping off supplies to isolated areas.

The deployment comes as the Royal Navy sends one of its latest warships, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless, to the region on her maiden voyage.

The Royal Navy has said the Portsmouth-based destroyer's deployment has been planned for a long time, and is not a reaction to heightened tensions over the Falklands.

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