Today ( 06 March 2017) INS VIRAAT which was the oldest operational aircraft in the world has been retired from the service. INS VIRAAT was former Centuar class aircraft carrier in Royal Navy.
The ship served the Royal Navy for about 27 years before it was sold to India where it was refurbished and operated by Indian Navy for almost 30 years. This beautiful machine was often called "GRAND OLD LADY" and this was the 2nd aircraft carrier of Indian Navy which was preceded by INS VIKRANT ( old one).
It was the main ship of Indian Navy before INS Vikramaditya was commissioned into service and since then it has complemented the newer aircraft carrier.
INS VIRAAT on 23 July 2016, sailed from Mumbai to Kochi for the last time under her own steam; by then, she had spent a total of 2,250 days at sea and had steamed a total of 1,094,215 kilometers (10.94 lakh KMS or covered globe about 27 times).
The decommissioning on INS VIRAAT has left a gap in Indian Navy which will be filled by the first indigenous aircraft carrier INS VIKRANT ( NEW ONE) which is currently under construction and it supposed to be inducted by 2018. According to reports the work on the aircraft carrier is near completion and it might be out for sea trials in 2017 and may join the Indian Navy near 2018 end.
Earlier the plans were to convert the INS VIRAAT into a museum but now the plans seem to be dropped as it would require extensive work and resources to convert it into museum. According to NAVAL CHIEF the ship can also be sunk and converted into a diving spot instead of museum.
While the fate of the ship is yet to be decided but one thing is for sure that the GRAND OLD LADY has served our nation well and bidding it farewell is tough not just for Navy but for the entire nation.
As for the new INS VIKRANT we hope to see it inducted soon.