Ministry of Defence wants ideas on how to preserve HMS Illustrious

HMS Illustrious leaving Portsmouth. Picture: LA(Phot) Vicki Benwell
HMS Illustrious leaving Portsmouth. Picture: LA(Phot) Vicki Benwell

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After 32 years of distinguished service, HMS Illustrious is due to retire from service next year.

Now the Ministry of Defence is looking for ideas on how best to preserve the legacy of the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class aircraft carriers.

It was announced last year that Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious would be preserved in some way rather than scrapped when she is decommissioned.

Private companies, charities, and trusts are now being invited to come forward with their ideas for her future use.

The government wants the ship to remain in the UK and plans for her future use must include plans for part or all of the ship to be developed for heritage purposes.

Philip Dunne, the minister for defence equipment, said: ‘HMS Illustrious, like her two sister ships Invincible and Ark Royal, has provided an invaluable service to this country over more than three decades.

‘This competition will provide the opportunity for organisations to put forward innovative and viable proposals to honour the role and history of this iconic class of ship and all those who served on board them.’

A final decision on the future of the ship will be made after the ship is decommissioned and handed over to the government’s Disposal Services Authority.