Indian Navy bids farewell to world’s oldest aircraft carrier INS Viraat
The oldest aircraft carrier in the world INS Viraat on Sunday sailed under tow for the last time before being taken to Mumbai, where it will be decommissioned.
According to the navy website, INS Viraat served the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes and was transferred to India in 1987. Officials said the vessel will be decommissioned towards the end of 2016 and the Andhra Pradesh state government has expressed interest in using it for tourism, The Times of India reported.
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“INS Viraat shares a special emotional bond with Kochi and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), as she has been refitted here every time she needed repairs or periodic regular maintenance,” a Navy official said.
Commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1987, INS Viraat is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier, which was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013.
The Navy has agreed to hand over INS Viraat to Andhra Pradesh government after its decommissioning. The AP government had shown a keen interest in getting INS Viraat, the oldest aircraft carrier operated by Indian Navy, to berth in Vizag for promotion of tourism after its decommissioning.