New Delhi: The world’s oldest aircraft carrier INS Viraat will be decommissioned on March 6 with a ceremonial send-off in Mumbai.
According to Indian Navy official, the ship’s name is entered in the Guinness World Records for being the oldest serving warship.
The decommissioning ceremony will be attended, by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries.
The gala event will see the lowering and wrap-up of the naval flag installed on the warship at sunset, marking an end to a long sea odyssey lasting 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.
Although no decision has been taken on the future of this warship till yet, but sources said that talks are on with the Andhra Pradesh government which has expressed interest in taking in the ship.
Referred to as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ in the naval community, Viraat was completed and commissioned in 1959 in the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom as ‘HMS Hermes’.
It was decommissioned in 1984 and subsequently commissioned in the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
Aircraft like Sea Harriers, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetak helicopters have been operated from the warship.
Under the Indian Navy, aircraft have clocked more than 22,034 hours of flying from INS Viraat’s decks.
The war ship spent nearly 2,250 days at sea, sailing 5,88,288 nautical miles, thereby implying that Viraat has been at sea for over six years and sailed around the globe about 27 times.