After 29 years in service, INS Viraat decommissioned:
The world’s oldest aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, in service with the Indian Navy will be decommissioned at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai today. This marks the end of an era of Viraat being the flagship of the Indian Navy. India will finally let go of this Centaur-class carrier, which has spent 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy. INS Viraat is the longest serving warship in the world. It hold the Guinness Books of record for this, according to the Indian Navy.
INS Viraat was first commissioned into the British Royal Navy as the HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959, 15 years after she was laid down in June, 1944. She served as the flagship of the Royal Navy’s task force during the Falklands War in 1982. She was decommissioned in 1985. Hermes was thereafter towed from Portsmouth Dockyard to Devonport Dockyard to be refitted and sold to India. The aircraft carrier was commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
INS Viraat is referred to as ‘Mother’ in the Western Navy. It has been the Flagship of the Indian Navy since her inception.