Prince William will be posted on a tour of duty to the Falkland Islands next year, the Royal Air Force said Thursday in a statement. The South Atlantic Islands are disputed by Argentina.
The 29-year-old search and rescue helicopter pilot, who is the second in line to the throne, will spend six weeks on the South Atlantic Ocean islands in February and March, the RAF said.
The RAF can confirm that Flight Lieutenant William Wales, Search and Rescue Co-pilot, 22 Squadron, RAF Valley will complete a routine deployment to the Falkland Islands... during the period February to March 2012, it said.
This deployment forms part of a normal squadron crew rotation and will form part of Flight Lieutenant Wales' training and career progression as a Search and Rescue pilot within the RAF.
RAF rules mean that the Duke of Cambridge will not be joined by his wife Catherine on the posting to the windswept islands.
”It is conventional that deployments to the Falklands for all SAR (search and rescue) helicopter pilots are unaccompanied, it said. He will be part of a four-person crew.
It also said that he would not be completing any ceremonial roles as the Duke of Cambridge”, his official title, adding that a six-week deployment to the Falklands was normal for pilots at his stage of his career.
William's father Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is heir to the throne, and his mother was the late Diana, princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
William and Catherine, who tied the knot at London's Westminster Abbey in April, are currently living on the island of Anglesey, northwest Wales, where William is posted at the RAF Valley base.
William has been putting in plenty of hours of flying time in recent months as he bids to win promotion and become a captain. The experience he will gain in the Falklands will count towards his goal.
His dates have been chosen to avoid clashing with his Grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, marking her 60 years on the throne.
There was no immediate reaction from Argentina, besides the reporting of the news.