- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2012

LONDON (AP) - Prince William arrived in the Falkland Islands Thursday for a six-week deployment as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, British officials said.

The Ministry of Defense confirmed that William, known in the service as Flight Lt. Wales, landed on the British outpost as part of a four-member Royal Air Force crew.

It said William assume his duties “shortly” following a period of briefings and a familiarization flight.

The prince’s visit has riled Argentina, which claims the islands 290 miles (460 kilometers) off its coast and refers to them as Las Malvinas.

The two countries have been trading barbs in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s April 1982 invasion. The 10-week war that followed ended in British victory and killed 650 Argentine troops, more than 250 British personnel and three islanders.

Britain still maintains about 1,000 troops in the territory, whose 3,000 residents overwhelmingly wish to remain British.