There's a simple app that lets you track Prince William's ambulance chopper -- and it's a huge security risk

Duke of Cambridge Prince William works for East Anglian Air Ambulance. Photo: Getty Images

Prince William began his new job as an air ambulance pilot less than two weeks ago and already there are concerns about some major security risks.

Britain’s The Mail on Sunday reported terrorists could use a simple, cheap mobile phone app to track the Royal’s helicopter position, travel direction, speed and altitude at any given time.

The app, which costs just £2.99 ($A6.40), has been described by ex-British police officers as “intelligence gold” for terrorists.

For a small fee app subscribers can choose to receive text alerts every time the Prince’s helicopter takes off from its base at Cambridge Airport on an emergency rescue mission. The notifications provide real-time flight data, taken from the aircraft’s on-board transponder, and also details where the helicopter lands.

Last week, the Mail on Sunday team downloaded the app, flightradar24, and were able to successfully track one of the Prince’s rescue flights from North Norfolk. After following the flight for more than an hour the team was able to put a photographer on the ground before the Prince’s helicopter landed at Cambridge airport.

Former commander of specialist operations at Scotland Yard Roy Ramm said the technology needed to be shut down immediately.

“Knowing the precise movements, altitude and speed of an aircraft in flight is intelligence gold for any terrorist,” he said.

“Even without expensive and sophisticated weaponry, there is the real danger that an inexpensive drone could be used to put any aircraft flown by William at risk.

“There is also the risk that a terrorist might simply open fire on his aircraft at low altitude with the kind of automatic weapon readily available to gangs in London. After all, the Prince is flying an air ambulance, not an armoured gunship.”

There’s more here.

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