INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, was decommissioned after serving for 30 years in the Indian Navy. Navy Chief and ceremony’s chief guest Admiral Sunil Lanba released a special postal cover to commemorate the warship’s service to the nation. The decommissioning ceremony was attended by more than 1,300 personnel, who have served on board INS Viraat. The world’s oldest aircraft carrier was decommissioned during a sunset ceremony in Mumbai ahead of an uncertain future for the ship hull. The 23,000-ton Viraat began its life as HMS Hermes, commissioning into the Royal Navy in 1959. As Hermes, the carrier was a key ship in the British fleet that fought in the Falklands and served in the Royal Navy until it was decommissioned and transferred to India in 1987.With Viraat out of commission, the Indian Navy is left with only the Soviet-era INS Vikramaditya as its only aircraft carrier. In addition to Vikrant, the Indian Navy is working on a second domestic carrier with U.S. assistance.
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