The world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, will be decommissioned on March 6. Serving the Indian Navy for the last 30 years, Virat is the last serving British-built ship in the country.

While addressing the media, 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.

  1. The INS Viraat was originally commissioned by the British Navy as HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959. After serving the British for 15 years, she was decommissioned in 1985. In 1986, India was examining a number of vessels from several countries. Finally, it decided to lay its hands on the British carrier. Soon after, it was sent to Devonport dockyard to be refitted and sold to India for a sum of USD 465 million. In India, it was rechristened as INS Viraat.
  2. The longest serving warship of the world, INS Virat of Indian Navy to be decommissioned on 6th March. The warship completed 30 years in service. 
  3. The ship had been given a new shape in the form of navigation radars, new fire control equipment, new deck landing aids and so on. Once in India, it had been rendered inactive on several occasions and refitted for further use. Due to advances in modern navigation and communication systems over the last 30 years, the ship had to be remodelled accordingly. Despite its consistent need for repairs, it was still a pride for the country’s navy. In 2001, she was a part of the International Fleet Review in Mumbai.
  4. In 2012-2013, the carrier underwent its last phase of refitting at Kochi and then at Mumbai so that it could be used till 2016. In 2015, it was further inspected before being made a part of the International Fleet Review in February 2016.