Over two years after it was decommissioned from service, aircraft carrier Viraat is going to be scrapped. Efforts to keep it intact by converting it into a museum or other means have not been successful.
In view of considerations of safety, security etc., a decision to scrap INS Viraat has been taken.
Demand to convert into museum
There had been demands from various quarters to not let Viraat go the Vikrant way, India’s first carrier that was eventually scrapped. Several States had submitted proposals, but none of them fructified. Andhra Pradesh had made several attempts. It submitted a proposal in October 2016 for the conversion of Viraat as an aircraft museum, including tourist and hospitality components on a commercial basis through a joint venture with the Centre. But the Defence Ministry rejected the proposal.
About INS Viraat
Viraat, a Centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 tonnes, had served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment was commissioned into the Indian Navy in May 1987. It was decommissioned from the Navy in March 2017 at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.
Vikrant, also a Centaur class, too, was maintained by the Navy in Mumbai for 17 years as various proposals to convert it into a museum went back and forth unsuccessfully before the ship was eventually sent to a scrapyard in 2014.
The Navy has stated on several occasions that it cannot keep Viraat indefinitely as it would block space in the already crowded Mumbai dockyard.