New Delhi: The sole aircraft carrier of the country INS Viraat on Friday completed 25 years of its active service with the Indian Navy.
The British warship- earlier known as HMS Hermes- was acquired by the Indian Navy On May 12, 1987 after completing 28 years under the Union Jack and having participated in the Falklands Campaign of the Royal Navy in 1982.
"In the last 25 years, INS Viraat has done over 40,000 hours of steaming and traversed over 5,00,000 nautical miles across the proverbial seven seas. The ship has undertaken over 20,000 hours of flying from its deck," Navy officials said here today.
Currently commanded by Captain Ajendra Bahadur Singh, the 19th Commanding Officer of the ship, INS Viraat has the rare distinction of being commanded by three officers who rose up to become the chiefs of Indian Navy.
"Ship has seen 18 Commanding Officers of which three- Admirals Madhvendra Singh, Arun Prakash and Nirmal Verma- went on to become Chief of Naval Staff," they said.
INS Viraat was also the flag ship of the western fleet during Operation Parakram.
"With its full strength of Sea Harriers fighter aircraft embarked, Viraat was central to the Western Fleet deployment for over six months. She was at sea with Capt (now Vice Admiral) D K Joshi as the Commanding Officer and Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) JS Bedi as the Fleet Commander," they said.
The ship underwent last major modernisation and life enhancement refit in 2008-09, which gave it a life extension of a few more years.
Born in November 1959 as HMS Hermes, INS Viraat is also one of the longest serving aircraft carrier in the history of naval operations anywhere in the world.