INS Viraat | 26 Aug 2020

Why in News

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Viraat will be scrapped at a ship breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat soon.

  • The decision to scrap INS Viraat was taken in 2019.

Key Points

  • INS Viraat holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest serving warship of the world.
  • Viraat, a Centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984. It was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987 after refurbishment.
    • The Centaur class of aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy was the last of the light fleet carrier designs started during the closing years of World War II (1939-45).
  • Viraat played a major role in Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation. It also saw action during Op Parakram in 2001-2002, post the terrorist attack on Parliament.
  • The indigenous Advance Light Helicopters ‘Dhruv’ and the Russian twin rotor Kamov-31 have also operated from the ship.
  • It was decommissioned in March 2017, and the Navy had been incurring expenditure since then on its upkeep, such as the provision of electricity and water, and repairs. It was also taking up space in the crowded Naval dockyard.
  • There had been demands from various quarters to not let Viraat go the way of Vikrant, India’s first carrier that was eventually scrapped.
    • In 2014, INS Vikrant, which played a role in the 1971 war with Pakistan was broken down in Mumbai.
  • However, several attempts by the Navy to preserve the carrier, by converting it into a museum or by other means, failed.
    • The vessel could not be handed over to any state government because of lack of “self-sustaining financially complete” proposal to preserve it. The state governments of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh had planned to preserve the aircraft carrier (in the form of a museum).
  • India is currently doing with only the 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya, the refurbished Admiral Gorshkov inducted from Russia in November 2013.
    • The trials of the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-I, to be named as INS Vikrant) being built at the Cochin Shipyard have been derailed by the pandemic.
    • The government’s approvals for a third carrier, the 65,000-tonne IAC-II (tentatively christened INS Vishal) has been pending since May 2015.
    • India needs aircraft carriers to secure the seas of the Indo-Pacific, to maintain peace, secure trade routes, and provide security to the region.

Source: TH