INS Viraat was laid down as a Centaur-class aircraft carrier HMS Elephant in 1944 but the original order was cancelled in 1945 when very little work had been done. Later the ship was heavily redesigned, renamed HMS Hermes and launched in 1953. She was completed in 1959 and served as an aircraft carrier until 1971 when she was paid off for conversion to a commando carrier. In 1977 she was rerated as ASW carrier, served until 1984 and acted as flagship of the Falklands Task Force in 1982. In 1986 she was refitted at Devonport and sold to India in 1987 and renamed INS Viraat. Sherecently underwent an upgrade and will serve the Indian Navy until about 2010. It carries a complement of Harriers for Air Defence of the Fleet. The air fleet is generally based at Dabolim, Goa when not on the carrier..
By Hinkkanen @ 2006-02-24 12:36:49