India set to decommission world’s oldest aircraft carrier from active service

INS Viraat has sailed around the globe for 56 years 

Indian Navy personnel stand on the INS Viraat, a centaur-class aircraft carrier, during the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam
Indian Navy personnel stand on the INS Viraat, a centaur-class aircraft carrier, during the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam

India is set to decommission the world’s oldest aircraft carrier in active service.

INS Viraat has served the Indian Navy for 36 years before which it served the Royal Navy for nearly three decades.

It has sailed around the globe for 56 years and was first commissioned in 1959.

"When the ship was purchased from Britain, India had planned to use it for five years. It went on to serve for 30 years," Indian Navy's Vice Admiral Girish Luthra said, Xinhua reported.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief of Naval Staff S Lamba, and the British Royal Navy’s 1st Sea Lord, admiral Sir Phillip Jones will be among those attending the decommissioning ceremony on Monday.

The event will see the lowering and wrapping-up of the warship’s naval flag at sunset.

INS Viraat has carried aircraft such as Sea Harriers, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetak helicopters, according to the Hindustan times.

The ship sailed the globe approximately 27 times in its service, spent 2,250 days at sea and travelled 5,88,288 nautical miles.

Notable operations for INS Viraat include the Falkland wars and Operation Jupiter after the breakdown of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord in July 1989.

The vessel could be converted into either a museum or a hotel, although if nobody buys the warship within four months, it will be dismantled.

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