Suffolk: Prince Harry expected to be at Wattisham Airfield in a fortnight
PRINCE Harry is expected to move to Suffolk within the next fortnight to start the next phase of his military career, it has been announced.
The royal, a trainee Apache helicopter pilot, will head to Wattisham Airfield near Stowmarket before his brother, Prince William, marries fiancee Kate Middleton on April 29.
The announcement was made by Prince Harry’s official office, St James’s Palace, which also confirmed he had been promoted to captain.
The royal will undertake a “conversion to role” course at Wattisham Airfield before spending time in America under instruction.
He successfully passed an eight-month “conversion to type” course to learn how to fly the Apache helicopter while at the Army Aviation Centre (AAC) at Middle Wallop, Hants.
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Following a 44-week training course at Sandhurst the prince was commissioned as an Army officer on April 12, 2006.
As a non-graduate he was eligible for promotion to the rank of captain after five years.
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A St James’s Palace spokesman said the former Lieutenant would now be known as Captain Harry Wales.
He added: “Prince Harry has been promoted to captain within the Army Air Corps in recognition of time service in the Armed Forces.”
As a captain he will be on a pay band of �37,916 to just over �45,000.
The prince has been forging ahead with his military career and is well on the way to realising his dream of returning to the front line in Afghanistan.
He served for 10 weeks in the country as a forward air controller during 2007-08, directing jets dropping bombs on Taliban positions in Helmand province.
Speaking earlier this month while training for an Arctic expedition, the royal said it would be pointless to undertake such costly training if he never went into combat.
He said: “You become a very expensive asset, the training’s very expensive and they wouldn’t have me doing what I’m doing.
“I’d just be taking up a spare place for somebody else if they didn’t have me going out on the job.”
Outlining other aspects of the training, a spokesman said: “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.”