PHOENIX – Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is coming to Arizona this fall to complete helicopter training, a spokeswoman for Luke Air Force Base said Wednesday. However, it’s unclear exactly where in the state he will train.
“He’s definitely not coming to Luke, but he will be in Arizona,” Capt. Carla Gleason said.
The prince, promoted to captain earlier this year, is training to pilot the Boeing Apache attack helicopter with the British Army Air Corps.
Gleason confirmed that the prince is taking part in the Apache Conversion to Role course in the United Kingdom. That course continues in Exercise Crimson Eagle in Arizona and California.
The prince’s U.S. training will consist of “environmental training, live firing and tactical exercises,” Gleason wrote in an email.
A video posted on the British Army’s website describes Exercise Crimson Eagle as an opportunity for Apache pilots to practice over terrain similar to that of Afghanistan.
Exercise Crimson Eagle has been held previously at the Barry M. Goldwater U.S. Air Force Range in southwestern Arizona as well as Naval Air Facility El Centro in California.
Carole Thompson, a spokeswoman for The Boeing Company in Mesa, said the Apache helicopter has been in production in Arizona since the 1980s. The latest version of the aircraft is the AH-64D Apache Longbow, and Thompson said a new version, the AH-64D Apache Block III, is set for distribution later this year.
A representative of the British Embassy confirmed the prince will be training in the U.S. but said the British Ministry of Defence has not given further details.
David Paull, a British Ministry of Defence press officer, said he couldn’t confirm the prince’s plans to train in the U.S., adding that details of the prince’s training are likely being withheld as a matter of security.
Whitney Phillips is a reporter for Cronkite News Service.