By Danvir Singh
25 Oct , 2016
As the glorious chapter in the Indian Navy’s history draws to a close, the decommissioning of INS Viraat is a symptom of metamorphism the Indian navy is undergoing.
INS Viraat, originally commissioned into Royal Navy as HMS Hermes in 1959, had served for 27 years before joining the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987. She served as the flag ship of Royal Navy’s task force during Falkland Island campaign in 1982. INS Viraat thus has a distinction of being the oldest serving aircraft carrier in the world spanning over 57 years.
INS Viraat arrived at Kochi on July 24, from Mumbai under its own propulsion: The Final Voyage. Here the warship will be stripped of its weaponry, radars and propulsion systems, before being towed back to Mumbai for the decommissioning ceremony in October, this year end.
Indian Navy aspires to be a three aircraft carrier based blue water navy by 2025. INS Vikrant, a 40,000 tonnes aircraft carrier is likely to join the Eastern Naval Command by 2018. And INS Vishal, a 65000 tonnes carrier likely to be a nuclear powered supercarrier that could join the force by 2025.
Till such time the Indian Navy will have to continue being a single carrier force. INS Vikramaditya that joined the navy in 2013 shall be its Flag Ship. She will carry out this arduous task of domination of Oceans, till the turn of the decade.