Prince Harry promoted to Captain and completes first stage of Apache training

Published 16 April 2011

Prince Harry has been promoted to Captain within the Army Air Corps in recognition of time service in the Armed Forces. The Prince – now known as Captain Harry Wales in the military – was also awarded his Apache Badge from the Officer in Command of his Squadron on Thursday 14th April, marking the completion of the eight month Apache Conversion to Type (CTT) Course.

Prince Harry is now qualified to fly the aircraft without an instructor and has progressed to a further eight month weapons handling course in order to become a fully operational Army Air Corps Pilot.

The timing of Prince Harry’s promotion to Captain and the completion of the Apache CTT course are coincidental.

The demanding CTT course includes ground school training, day and night flying as well as complex simulator training. Prince Harry and his fellow students undertook 14 day-flying sorties testing their ability to fly in cloud and to navigate complex and congested airspace.

Before progressing on to the night flying phase, Prince Harry was tested using a cockpit blackout system known as the ‘Bag.’ This exercise prepares students for flying on the Night Vision System, which displays thermal imagery into the Helmet Mounted Display over the pilot’s right eye. The night flying phase lasted approximately three months culminating in a final assessment, during which students commanded a pair of Apache helicopters at night in order to test their handling, captaincy, understanding of the aircraft system and response to simulated emergencies.

The final flying phase of the course involved a two-week Mountain Flying exercise in the French Alps. Prince Harry will now progress to the Apache Conversion to Role course where he will learn to operate the aircraft and its weapons systems in a variety of challenging operational scenarios. The Prince will be based at Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk and undertake a section of the training in the United States of America.

Notes to Editors  The accompanying photograph is of The Prince of Wales with Prince Harry standing in front of an Apache Helicopter at Middle Wallop. On 21st March 2011, The Prince of Wales was invited by the Army Aviation Centre in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps (AAC) in order to fly an Apache and to meet students on the Apache Conversion Course. The AAC were keen for The Prince to see first hand the capability of the Apache and to understand further the complexities of learning to fly the aircraft. The photograph is credited to WO2 Richard Dawson RLC.

Prince Harry began his Apache training course in July 2010 at Middle Wallop. He is due to complete the Conversion to Role course at the end of this year.

The Apache AH Mark One fleet consists of 67 aircraft and a number of these are deployed very successfully in Afghanistan in support of UK and Coalition forces. It is a multi role aircraft providing close combat attack, escort and support to other operations.

The Apache Attack Helicopter is designed to hunt and destroy armoured vehicles. Apache can operate in all weathers, day and night, and can detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 potential targets in seconds through its Fire Control Radar. It carries a mix of weapons, including rockets, Hellfire missiles and a 30mm chain gun.