LONDON, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Britain's Prince Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan, starting his four-month military service as an Apache helicopter pilot, British Ministry of Defense (MOD) said on Friday.
Known as Captain Wales in the military, Harry will be working as part of the Joint Aviation Group (JAG) which provides helicopter support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces operating throughout Regional Command (South West).
Based out of Bastion, the largest coalition military base in the country, his squadron will provide surveillance, deterrence and, when required, close combat attack capabilities as well as escort duties for other aircraft, according to the MOD.
Captain Wales qualified as a co-pilot gunner in February this year and was posted to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, to gain further flying experience and to operate the aircraft on a number of exercises.
He has been trained to fly in the front seat as the mission commander, a role that equips the operative to fly the aircraft from the back seat but the majority of the time involves operating the Apache's sights, sensors and weapons systems.
The MOD said Harry's deployment has been long-planned and the threat to him and others around him thoroughly assessed.
Commander of the JAG, Captain 'Jock' Gordon RN, said: "Working alongside his colleagues in the squadron, he will be in a difficult and demanding job and I ask that he be left to get on with his duties and allowed to focus on delivering support to coalition forces on the ground."
The U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in the pretext of the war on terror in late 2001 and drove Taliban regime out of power within weeks for harboring Osama Bin Laden in the wake of surprising attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.
Britain has lost 425 military personnel since it began military operation in Afghanistan in 2001. There are still 9,000 British troops in Afghanistan, the second largest foreign force after the United States. Britain has planned to withdraw the bulk of soldiers by the end of 2014.