INS Viraat aircraft carrier (image: The Print)
The Indian government, after consultation with the navy has decided to sell the decommissioned aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat, for scrap after its effort to convert it into a heritage site failed.
Viraat, a Centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, had served in the British Navy as “HMS Hermes” for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984. After refurbishment, the ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987. It was decommissioned two years ago.
“INS Viraat could not be handed over to any State Government because of non-receipt of a self-sustaining financially complete proposal. Thus, in view of considerations of safety, security etc., a decision to scrap INS Viraat has been taken in due consultation with Indian Navy,” Shripad Naik, Minister of State for Defence said, according to The Hindu daily.
INS Viraat had a 14° ski jump to operate the Sea Harrier aircraft along with a reinforced flight deck, and 1.2 inches (3 cm) of armour over the magazines and machinery spaces. The magazine capacity included at least 80 lightweight torpedoes. In a wartime scenario, the ship could carry up to 26 combat aircraft and was suited for supporting amphibious operations and conducting anti-submarine warfare operations.
The first Indian Navy aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, was also sold for scrap in 2012.