INS Viraat, the oldest aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, was decommissioned on 6th March 2017. It had served in the British navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987.
INS Viraat, weighing 27,800 tonnes, was the world’s oldest aircraft carrier in service. Its fate still remains unclear as to whether it will be converted into a luxury hotel or will it head to the scrapyard to be broken up.
The decision is to be taken by the Defence Ministry. Government of Andhra Pradesh has proposed to convert it into an entertainment hub in Visakhapatanam through a joint venture with the Government of India. In its proposal A.P. has proposed to convert it into an offshore luxury hotel and build a marina along with an entertainment zone around it.
The Navy is keen on an early decision to avoid Viraat meeting the same fate as its predecessor Vikrant. The Navy had maintained Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier, at Mumbai for 17 years as various proposals to convert it into a museum went back and forth unsuccessfully before the ship was eventually sent to the scrapyard in 2014. The Navy has also stated that it cannot keep the Viraat indefinitely as it would block space in the dockyard.