Friday, April 30, 2010

Prince Harry gets ticket to fly Apache helicopters in Afghanistan

Prince Harry could fly Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan, it emerged yesterday, after it was announced that he had passed his army pilot’s course.Lieutenant Wales, as he is known in the Army Air Corps, has been told that he is good enough to fly either the Apache or the Lynx, a battlefield utility helicopter. He has until next week to decide which he prefers.The Apache, one of the most fearsomely armed helicopters in the world, was designed to hunt and destroy tanks. In Afghanistan its ability to take out targets up to two miles away has made it a vital asset in the fight against the Taleban. It is equipped with 16 Hellfire missiles, 76 high-velocity tungsten rockets, four air-to-air missiles and a chain-gun with 1,200 rounds of 30mm ammunition.

Prince Harry’s success has greatly enhanced his chances of returning to the front line, whichever choice he makes. A military source said that both aircraft were heavily involved in Afghanistan. “Anybody involved with flying either of them stands a bloody good chance of being deployed to Afghanistan.”The Prince, 25, has until Thursday to make his decision, which will be taken into account when military commanders make the final decision before his graduation ceremony on Friday.The Lynx, which in its upgraded form is able to operate all year round in Afghanistan instead of just the cooler months, is mainly used for convoy protection and reconnaissance, as well as occasionally carrying small numbers of troops. The Mark 9A is armed with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun........................................link

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