INS Viraat, formerly known as HMS Hermes, was a Centaur-class aircraft carrier which joined the Indian navy in 1986. It was the flagship carrier until the commission of INS Vikramaditya in 2013. The navy officers said that, in the heart of the ship, temperatures always rose to 60 degrees centigrade during operations. This part of the ship was constructed before Second World War and has remained unchanged since then. It has serviced Indian navy for nearly 30 years, and it has done exceptionally well. It’s time to relieve her of it’s duty and put her to rest. INS Viraat has been decommissioned yesterday i.e, on 6th March 2017.
What happens to Viraat now?
Navy Chief Sunil Lanba said that he had many proposals for the gigantic aircraft, one among them is the ship being sunk and converted into a museum as a tourist attraction for the divers. He also said that INS Viraat won’t be heading towards scrapyard until four to six months from now. He said, “I have some other proposal in my mind, which I will put forward and see what happens”.
He said that, one among the proposals is that it’ll be taken to one of the major tourist harbor and be converted into a museum where some other air crafts have been put to rest, where she’ll be a legend. Andhra Pradesh government has put forward a proposal of converting the ship into a museum with a projected cost of about Rs. 1,000 crores.
Lanba also mentioned that, if no buyer comes forward for the purchase of the ship, it’ll be sent to the scrapyard in Alang, Gujarat to be scrapped.
Important missions of INS Viraat
INS Viraat served as HMC Hermes for 27 years in the Royal Navy and 30 years in the Indian Navy.
It has roughly sailed 11 lakh KMS, which accounts to going around the globe 27 times. Many Sea Harrier Jets, Sea King and Kamov Helicopters took off from this air craft.
She played a major role during the Sri Lankan peace keeping operation in 1989, and was also used for the Operation Parakram after the parliament attacks of 2001.
Many of it’s previous commanding officers attended the solemn decommissioning of INS Viraat, held at Mumbai yesterday and bid farewell to it.
INS Viraat has served well during it’s service and has been the pride of our nation. Whatever it has in it’s future will also be to serve the Indians in every possible way. Here is to INS Viraat, Hear Hear!