Indian Navy's INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier in active service will be decommissioned on Monday with a ceremonial send-off in Mumbai.
INS Viraat decommissioning will mark an end to a glorious chapter in the Indian Navy’s history as the longest serving aircraft carrier will retire after serving the country for nearly three decades.
INS Viraat was a Centaur-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013. It was sold to India in 1987. INS Viraat was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987 and served for 27 years.
INS Viraat was originally commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 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 Falkland Islands campaign in 1982 and was decommissioned from active duty in 1985.
Here are some interesting facts about the world's oldest serving aircraft carrier
Motto - The motto of INS Viraat was 'Jalamev Yasya, Balmev Tasya' (meaning - One Who Controls the Sea is All Powerful), which was first adopted by the great warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century as the guiding principle of his naval military strategy.
Launching Pad for multiple naval fighters: It housed the fighters 'White Tigers', the Sea Harriers of INAS 300, which were decommissioned in Goa in May 2016, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King MK42B, Sea King MK42C or Harpoons, SAR helicopter Chetan, besides ALH Dhruv and Russian twin rotor Kamov-31.
Operations: INS Viraat played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operations, Operation Parakram in 2001-2002 when India and Pakistan were in a stand-off post-terror strikes on Indian Parliament, among others.