Prince William to be deployed to Falkland Islands

Prince William will be one of four Royal Air Force pilots to be sent to the windswept British military base in the Falkland Islands.

Story highlights

  • Prince William is being sent as part of a normal crew rotation, the military says
  • He is a qualified search and rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force
  • The islands are the subject of dispute with Argentina, which calls them the Malvinas
  • Britain and Argentina went to war over the islands in 1982
Prince William is to be deployed next February to the Falkland Islands in his role as a search and rescue pilot, the British Ministry of Defence said Thursday.
He will be one of four Royal Air Force pilots to be sent to the lonely, windswept military base, the air force said in a statement.
The deployment is part of the normal crew rotation for the air force and will form part of his training and career progression, the statement said. The air force provides 24-hour search and rescue cover year-round from the base.
William, whose marriage in April to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was watched by millions around the world, qualified as a search and rescue pilot in September last year.
He has been flying Sea King helicopters for the Royal Air Force from a base in Anglesey, Wales.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, opened the Mount Pleasant base to which his nephew will be deployed over two decades ago. Living conditions are said to be basic and isolated.
William will need to be back in Britain in time to help with preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee -- marking 60 years since she took the throne -- to be celebrated next June.
His deployment will be seen as somewhat sensitive, coming 30 years after Britain and Argentina went to war over the Falklands.
Known as Las Malvinas in Argentina, the islands lie off the South American country's coast in the South Atlantic and have been under British rule since 1833.
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, prompting a war in which more than 600 Argentinean and 255 British military personnel died. Britain retained control of the islands after the war.