Bon Voyage INS Viraat: Why India Is Proud Of The World’s Oldest Aircraft Carrier
Like the passing of an elder, the decommissioning of the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat held tremendous sentimental value for the defense forces and their avid followers in the country. As a tribute to the warship, here is all that you need to know about the Grand Old Lady.
INS Viraat was the second aircraft carrier of the country and also holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest serving warship. It spent close to three decades under the Indian flag after 27 years of service to the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Prior to its transfer to India in 1987, the vessel was called the HMS Hermes and later came to be fondly referred as ‘Mother.’
The aircraft carrier spent a total of 2,250 days at the sea with an astonishing 10,94,000km-coverage in its lifetime. The flights taking off from its runways have flown for an airtime of more than 22,000 hours. As for the crew, the Viraat had a capacity to house more than 1,500 men back in the day, which came down to 300 after its last voyage.
The final goodbye
The INS Viraat embarked on its last voyage in July last year, travelling from Mumbai to Kochi. It was later towed back to Mumbai in October for the official farewell ceremony. The Indian Navy is said to be exploring the possibility of transforming the vessel into a museum hotel after its retirement. For the same, some repair work will have to be carried out in its underwater compartments.