INS Viraat, the longest serving warship in world will be decommissioned March 6- ending a glorious era in the history of Indian Navy. The aircraft carrier will be decommissioned after 57 years of service, including 27 with the Royal Navy at a grand ceremony at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.
Addressing media on Monday, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra said when the ship was purchased, India had planned to use it for five years. It went on to serve for 30 years. Its decommissioning is a historic moment for the Indian Navy.
“ Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba – who was once the executive officer of the ship in 1998 – will be present for the momentous occasion, along with some officers and men from India and United Kingdom who serve with her. “ he added.
He also said that there is a proposal to convert the ship into a maritime Museum. However, a final call on the issue will be yaken by the defence ministry.
Originally commissioned by the British Navy as HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959, the warship was decommissioned in 1984. Soon after, it was sent to Devonport dockyard to be refitted and sold to India for a sum of $465 million
In 1986, India picked the British carrier after examining a number of vessels from several countries.
The Centaur-Class aircraft carrier was commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
Under the Indian flag, she clocked more than 22,622 flying hours by various aircraft, spent around 2,252 days at sea sailing 10,94,215 km, and since her inception her boiler was running for 80,715 hours. She played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operations, Operation Parakram in 2001-2002 when India and Pakistan were in a stand-off post-terror strikes on Indian Parliament, among others.