Prince William to command search and rescue missions

Prince William in Sea King cockpit
Image caption Prince William has been serving with the squadron since 2010

Prince William has qualified as a Royal Air Force search and rescue captain, Clarence House has said.

The Duke of Cambridge passed his tests on 29 May. A spokesman said he was "pleased to have passed the milestone".

The prince serves with No 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales. He had been serving as a co-pilot.

Clarence House said he would now "command search and rescue operations in RAF Sea King helicopters".

'Very high level'

The prince completed two days of ground and air-based tests to achieve the qualification, following his two years of flying experience in the helicopter.

He joined C Flight, 22 Squadron after graduating training in September 2010.

Officer Commanding 22 Squadron, Wing Commander Mark Dunlop, said: "Flt Lt Wales demonstrated the required standards needed for the award of Operation Captaincy.

"Due to the nature of search-and-rescue operations, the required standards are always set at a very high level.

"Operational captaincy carries the overarching responsibility for the safety of the aircraft, its crew and any casualties."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said his tests had been carried out in "the normal timescale".

Earlier this year the prince spent six weeks flying search-and-rescue missions from the Falkland Islands. The deployment came amid growing tensions between Argentina and the UK.

William's brother, Prince Harry, recently completed helicopter pilot training on Apache gunships, which are used by the Army Air Corps.