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INS Viraat has completed 25 years of its active service with
the Indian Navy in 2012.
She began as the Centaur-class HMS Hermes of the British Royal Navy in 1959, born during
a late World War 2. India acquired the British commando carrier HMS Hermes(earlier name) in 1987,
renamed it INS Viraat and placed it under the Western Naval Command in Mumbai.
the oldest carrier in service.
28,000 tonne aircraft carrier.
INS Viraat in service till 2016-18.
INS Viraat (R22)
Normally, a warship of Viraat’s size has an effective
operational life of about 25 years. However, the Navy’s ingenious ways of
making the ageing warship plough on well after its golden jubilee has baffled
and amazed the world.
Harrier jets, which were upgraded recently, that fly from INS Viraat’s deck. At present, India has less than a dozen
operational Sea Harriers.
Sea Harrier jets
The Navy’s original plan of retiring the Viraat and the old
Sea Harrier fighters suffered a jolt as timelines slipped inordinately on the
price negotiations and refurbishment of INS Vikramaditya. The 50-year old
Viraat cannot launch non-vectored thrust aircraft such as the MiG-29 and the US
The INS Viraat has since seen major refits from 1993 to 2011
in an effort to keep the 50+ year old vessel viable for the modern battlefield.
It then underwent several re-fits with new fire control equipment, navigation radars,
improved NBC protection, and installations of deck landing aids for its proper
functioning and increased life span.