ARMED forces minister Mark Francois says he hopes HMS Illustrious can be kept afloat after she is decommissioned.
The senior MP was on board the helicopter carrier yesterday as the ship arrived home in Portsmouth.
Mr Francois said the government had received a number of ideas on how to preserve HMS Illustrious –including some in Portsmouth – when she is decommissioned later this year.
‘The country is getting two new aircraft carriers which will be based in Portsmouth and keep that capability,’ he said. ‘We hope Illustrious can be kept for the nation and have received ideas on how that could be some, including some in Portsmouth, which is great.’
Mr Francois also said work is progressing on the design of the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 frigates.
It is not yet known where they will be based.
He said: ‘We have been beavering away on the design but we are not likely to finalise the design of the Type 26 until the end of the year.’
The armed forces minister joined the ship as she sailed towards the city and spoke to sailors on board about their experiences of the deployment.
He added: ‘I am delighted to have been able to visit on her return to her base port of Portsmouth and to personally thank those involved.’