A glorious era of the flagship of the Indian Navy, the INS Viraat, which has spent 30 years in the Navy, will end on Monday.
INS Viraat, the second aircraft carrier in the Indian naval fleet, whch was earlier with in the Royal Navy of United Kingdom, will be decommissioned today.
Earlier known as HMS Hermes, the ship was in the Royal Navy from 1959. In the late 80s, Indian Navy purchased it at the cost of $65 million and was re-commissioned on 12 May, 1987.
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, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Girish Luthra, said.
At sunset on March 6, the Naval Ensign and Commissioning Pendent will be lowered for the last time on board INS Viraat symbolising the end of her glorious era in Indian naval history, Vice-Admiral Luthra said taking around a media contingent on board the ship for the last time.
Presently, INS Vikramaditya is the only serving aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy and the second one, named Vikrant, is under construction at Cochin Shipyard Ltd.
It is the longest serving ship in the history, an official communication from the Western Naval Command said. Asked about the future of the ship, Luthra said the decision will be taken by the Union government.
It housed the fighters ‘White Tigers’ – the Sea Harriers of INAS 300, which were decomissioned in Goa in May 2016, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King MK42B, Sea King MK42C or ‘Harpoons’, SAR helicopter Chetan, besides ALH ‘Dhruv’ and Russian twin rotor Kamov-31.
With a full load displacement of 28,700 tonnes, the 226.5 metres long and 48.78 metres wide ship was manned by 150 officers and 1,500 sailors.
Source Zee News