Sgt Russ Nolan RLC/MOD
February 08, 2012 07:30 PM

Prince Harry was given an award for “best copilot gunner” Wednesday as he and 20 of his fellow pilots celebrated completion of their training in Apache helicopters.

Harry, 27, was the “best front-seat pilot” – the officer who takes control of the mission and its weapons systems and sights – and given a polished 30mm round from an Apache cannon mounted on a stand as his trophy.

The end of Harry’s training means he has attained limited combat-ready status, it was announced by the Defense Ministry and his office at the Palace.

A captain in the Army Air Corps, Harry will now be assigned to 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps within 16 Air Assault Brigade and gain more experience in flying as a squadron.

Part of his 18 months’ training was carried out in California and Arizona, where he had to learn to handle the aircraft in mountainous and desert conditions and took part in live firing training.

Colonel Neale Moss, Commander of the Attack Helicopter Force at RAF Wattisham, where Harry was based, said, “The Apache course is extremely challenging, teaching and testing students in their flying skills, decision-making and mental agility on exercises all over the country and abroad. This requires composure, dedication and hard work.”

Early next month, the prince will be venturing to the Caribbean and Brazil as he undertakes his first royal tour on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

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