Indian aircraft carrier Viraat slated for scrapping by month-end

INS Viraat underway in 2016 (Photo: Indian Navy)

The ex-Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat has arrived in Alang in the state of Gujarat, where it will undergo dismantling before the end of the month.

The country’s defence ministry had put the 28,000-tonne veteran warship up for sale in the months following its March 2017 decommissioning after efforts to convert it into a floating museum were abandoned due to insufficient funds.

The carrier was acquired by local company Shree Ram Group for INR385.4 million (US$5.22 million) through a government auction in July 2020. It will be sold for scrap following the dismantling process.

Shree Ram chairman Mukesh Patel said the dismantling is tentatively scheduled for 13:00 local time on Monday, September 28, but remains subject to the tide and weather conditions.

Originally delivered to the British Royal Navy in 1959 as the Centaur-class light fleet carrier HMS Hermes, Viraat was sold to India in 1986 and recommissioned into the Indian Navy the following year.

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