Falklands flagship set for her final voyage

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AN AIRCRAFT carrier from Portsmouth that fought in the Falklands War is making her final journey before being decommissioned after almost 60 years of active service.

HMS Hermes served with distinction in the conflict against Argentina in 1982 before being sold to the Indian Navy and renamed INS Viraat.

Originally named after the winged messenger of the Greek gods, HMS Hermes was one of the workhorses of the Royal Navy for almost 30 years, serving from 1959 to 1984 and was the flagship of the British taskforce sent to the Falkland Islands.

She is the last of the Centaur-class carriers and is the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the world.

For more than a decade she served as India’s only aircraft carrier, operating in the Indian Ocean.

The vessel now has one final mission before being decommissioned which will see her taking part in the International Fleet Review on February 4.

After this she will remain at Visakhapatnam to await her decommissioning, with an official date still to be set by the Indian Defence Ministry.

Initial plans had suggested that the carrier could be converted into a floating museum, however, this 
still needs to be agreed by officials.