HMS Illustrious is back in action after refit

EXERCISE HMS Illustrious has completed her first war games after a �40m refit.  Pictures: Lt Chris Luke RN

EXERCISE HMS Illustrious has completed her first war games after a �40m refit. Pictures: Lt Chris Luke RN

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BRITAIN’S only remaining aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is back in action after taking part in her first war game since a £40m refit.

The Portsmouth-based carrier, which only has helicopters on her flight deck these days after the navy’s jets were axed, came through her first mock war since her return from a 16-month revamp in the summer.

ON STANDBY The operations room

ON STANDBY The operations room

The warship went to action stations off Plymouth to fend off jets as they pretended to drop bombs on her.

Lusty also had to thwart submarines’ attempts to cripple her with torpedoes.

During her training, the ship was visited by Britain’s second most senior sailor, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, who commanded Lusty’s now-defunct sister ship HMS Invincible nearly a decade ago.

He said: ‘The team onboard look in great shape – they’re obviously receptive to their training, so I expect great things.

‘Following this period of operational sea training, Lusty and her ship’s company need to be ready, very ready, to deploy on operations anywhere in the world at very short notice.’

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