INS Viraat all set to retire today.

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BAY OF BENGAL (Sept. 5, 2007) - INS Varaat steams in formation in the Bay of Bengal during exercise Malabar 07-2 Sept. 5. The multinational exercise includes naval forces from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. In addition to the Viraat, taking part in the formation are USS Kitty Hawk, USS Nimitz, JS Yuudachi, JS Ohnami, RSS Formidable, HMAS Adelaide, INS Ranvijay, INS Brahmaputra, INS Ranjit, USS Chicago and USS Higgins. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen W. Rowe

The INS Viraat an Indian Navy flagship Aircraft carrier will retire from its services today. INS Viraat holds a Guinness Record of being the oldest Aircraft carrier in service. The carrier was inducted into the Indian Navy in 1987 on May 12th. The ship is also known as ‘Grand Old Lady’ and was owned from 1959 by the British Royal Navy. It was bought by the Indian Government for Rs. 6.5 crores in 1987 and has been in service since then.

When the British Royal Navy held ownership, the ship was known by the name of HMS Hermes and was changed to INS Viraat after Indian Navy took it up. INS Viraat has a motto of ‘Jalamev Yasya, Balmev Tasya’ (One Who Controls the Sea is All Powerful.) The motto was adopted from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s motto of the 17th century, which he used as guiding principle for the naval military strategy.

INS Viraat in its service has been a house of fighter planes and anti-submarine fighters the  ‘White Tigers’ – Sea Harriers of INAS 300, which were decommissioned in Goa in May 2016, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King MK 42 B, Sea King MK 42 C or Harpoons, SAR helicopters Chetan, besides ALH Dhruv and Russian twin rotor Kamov-31. INS Viraat also played a very important role in the 1989 mission Operation Jupiter during the Sri Lankan Peace Keeping Operations. It also played a major role in 2001-2002 mission Operation Parikrama, which started after attacks on Indian Parliament and India-Pakistan were in a face off.

The INS Viraat has a load displacement capacity of 28,700 tons. It measures 226.5 meters long and is 48.78 meters wide. 150 officers and 1,500 sailors were used to control the operations. The Andhra Pradesh Government has not yet decided the fate of the ship but has announced that it will turn the warship into a museum.