London: Co-pilot Prince Harry is stepping up his training to be ready for action in Afghanistan later this year.
According to The Express Tribune, Prince Harry will be co-pilot gunner in a two-man crew flying an Apache helicopter.
Harry will be in charge of the helicopter`s weapon systems, including Heelgire missiles and a 30 mm chain gun.
A senior defence source said: "At the moment he will be getting more time with his crew, i.e. the other guy he is going to be operating with. He will be getting used to flying the aircraft. He will be practising night operations and he will be operating with troops on the ground."
Defence sources said no formal decision had yet been taken on whether the prince will be allowed to go to the war zone after his training is completed in the UK.
The sources said that would depend on security and intelligence information at the time.
Senior officers said that despite recent attacks the danger from Taliban in the Afghan Army is minimal as in his role he is unlikely to come into contact with local forces on the ground.
But he has been trained in escape and evasion and will carry a 9 mm pistol in case his helicopter is downed or crashed, the officers added.