Former Royal Navy carrier HMS Hermes turned INS Viraat to be dismantled in India

THE longest-serving aircraft carrier in the world is set to be dismantled, according to reports.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 9:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 9:41 am

INS Viraat, which was formerly known as HMS Hermes while in the service of the Royal Navy, is set to be scrapped after arriving at the Alang Ship Breaking yard in Gujarat, India.

The Ahmedabad Mirror reports that she will arrive in the first week of September and then be dismantled.

The last of the Centaur class-carriers, she was commissioned in 1959 and served in the Falklands War.

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HMS Hermes, the aircraft carrier, returns from the Falklands in 1982. The News PP4829

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The glorious life of Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes was sold to India in 1986 after three decades of service with the Royal Navy and she served as the Indian Navy’s leading warship until 2017.

The carrier was decommissioned and was eventually sold to Shri Ram Shipping.

There had been proposals from several state governments in India to purchase the ship and turn her into a museum, but they did not come to fruition.

She was then sold by online auction.

The carrier was laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness during the Second World War and was due to be called HMS Elephant, however construction was suspended in 1945 before being resumed in 1952. She remained unfinished until 1957.

HMS Hermes entered service with the Royal Navy in 1959 and had a nearly 60-year career first with Britain and then India before she was decommissioned in 2017.

During her time with the Indian Navy, the warship spent 2,250 days at sea and sailed 588,288 nautical miles.

Hermes was deployed as INS Viraat on peacekeeping missions in Sri Lanka in 1988 and the Kargil War in 1999.

Soon after she was decommissioned, plans had emerged for her to be transformed into a floating museum of luxury £90m hotel. But ultimately both proposals failed to gain any traction.

In the UK, Cornish businessman Andy Trish – who was a young naval airman on board the aircraft carrier during the Falklands War in 1982 – put forward a £20m bid to bring the ship back to the UK and turn her into a ‘living museum’.

In January Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman claimed prime minister Boris Johnson had intervened to save the ship from scrap.

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