INS Viraat, Indian Navy’s Grand Old Lady, to retire today after 30-year service

The ship, famously known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’, was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.

Indian Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier INS Viraat will be decommissioned from the Indian Navy on Monday. INS Viraat has served the nation for six decades.

INS Viraat was inducted into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987. The ship is famously known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’, was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.

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On Monday evening, the Naval flag atop the ship, also known as the “grand old lady”, will be lowered and wrapped at sunset, marking an end to its long journey of 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.

As per reports, if no buyer is found for the ship in four months, it will be broken up and sold for scrap. The ship has sailed for nearly 11 lakh km.

During the decommissioning ceremony, 21 of its 22 former commanders will be present.

INS Viraat was the flagship of the Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in 2013.

The ship has seen a series of aircraft operate from its decks, including the the Sea Harrier, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetaks.

Under the Indian Flag, various aircraft have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of the INS Viraat which implies that the carrier has been at sea for over six years covering the entire globe about 27 times.

The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War.

The last operational deployment of the ship was at the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) in Visakhapatnam.

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