MUMBAI, March 06 (IANS): The world’s oldest aircraft carrier in service, the INS Viraat,is set to retire on Monday from the Indian Navy.
On Monday evening, the Naval flag atop the ship, also known as the “grand old lady”, will be lowered and wrapped at sunset, marking an end to its long journey of 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.
Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain’s Royal Navy as HMS Hermes.
In 1984, it was decommissioned from the Royal Navy and subsequently was commissioned by the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
The ship has seen a series of aircraft operate from its decks, including the the Sea Harrier, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetaks.
Under the Indian Flag, various aircraft have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of the INS Viraat which implies that the carrier has been at sea for over six years covering the entire globe about 27 times.
The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War.
The last operational deployment of the ship was at the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) in Visakhapatnam.