The Aircraft Carrier, INS Viraat set sail for Kochi this afternoon for Essential Repairs and Dry Docking (ERDD) at the Cochin
Shipyard. This is the last sailing under her own propulsion as INS Viraat is slated for decommissioning later this year. Vice
Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command and other senior officers of the command,
visited the ship and interacted with the crew prior to her departure. The carrier was escorted out of harbour by Fast Interceptor
Craft and helicopters from the Western Naval Command. It wasindeed an emotional moment for the Navy, as INS
Viraat leaves Naval Dockyard Mumbai, for ‘one last time’ under own power. The ship will be towed back to Mumbai on
completion of ERDD, for the decommissioning ceremonylater this year.
INS Viraat was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987. The ship operated Sea Harrier (White Tigers - fighter air
crafts), Seaking 42B (Harpoons - Anti Submarine helicopters) & Seaking 42C (Commando Carrier helicopters) and
Chetak (Angles - SAR helicopter) as her main air elements. The Sea Harrier fleet was also recently decommissioned at Goa
in May 16.
Under the Indian Flag, various aircrafts have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of INS Viraat. She has spent
nearly 2,250 days at sea sailing 5,88,288 NM (10, 94,215 KM). This implies that Viraat has been at sea forover six years
covering the entire globe about 27 times. She played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 (Indian Peace
Keeping operations in Sri Lanka) and Operation Vijay in the year 1999 (Kargil War). The ship has also participated in various
international joint exercises like Malabar (with US Navy), Varuna (with French Navy), Naseem-Al-Bahar (with Oman Navy)
and has been an integral element of all major naval exercises. The last operational deployment of the ship was for
participation in International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) at Visakhapatnam. Having served the country and the Navy for nearly
three decades, INS Viraat handed over the mantle of carrier operations to INS Vikramaditya which was commissioned in the
The second aircraft carrier of the country has spent 29 years under the Indian Flag and 27 years with the Royal Navy (United
Kingdom). The ship holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest serving warship. INS Viraat is a Centaur-Class Aircraft
Carrier and served in the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes, which was the flag ship of Royal Navy during the Falk Lands
Campaign of 1982. She is commonly referred to as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ among the Naval community.