The world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier and the last serving British-built ship in the country, INS Viraat, was decommissioned on March 6.
While addressing the 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. It’s decommissioning is a historic moment for the Indian Navy.
The event was attended by India’s Chief of Naval Staff, Sunil Lamba and the British Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, admiral Sir Phillip Andrew Jones.
Royal Navy servicemen recall the Falklands War in 1982 fought by INS Viraat then HMS Hermes.
INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013.
On 23 July 2016, Viraat sailed from Mumbai to Kochi for the last time under her own steam; by then, she had spent a total of 2,250 days at sea and had steamed a total of 1,094,215 kilometers.
Viraat consisted of the fighter jet, Sea Harriers, popularly called ‘White Tigers’, anti-submarine aircraft, Seak King Mk 42B, Sea King Mk 42 C known as ‘Harpoons’ and the Chetak helicopter.
The Sea Harriers fleet was decommissioned in Goa on May 11, 2016.
On July 23, 2016, Viraat sailed from Mumbai to Kochi, where she underwent a refit in preparation of her decommissioning.