INS Viraat, India’s oldest aircraft carrier in active service will be decommissioned today with a ceremonial send-off in Mumbai. The decommissioning of INS Viraat would be very emotional moment for Navy and personnel deployed on Viraat, as the air craft served the nation for nearly six decades.
The decommissioning ceremony will be attended, by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries. The grand event will see the lowering and wrap-up of the naval flag installed on the warship at sunset, marking an end to a long sea odyssey lasting 55 years.
Indian Navy’s foremost flagship was built in 1943, during the Second World War. It was commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987, before that the historic ship served Royal British Navy for 27 long years.
Sea Harrier fighters, Sea King and Kamov helicopters flew off the ship, which has sailed nearly 11 lakh km, enough to cover the globe 27 times.
The carrier has provided utmost protection to the country during many tense situations. The decision on the warship’s future has not been taken yet. But the warship would be possibly converted into a museum, hotel or preserving it as a relic of maritime history.