All you need to know about the mighty INS Viraat
March 6, 2017 will be an emotional day for many who have seen Her, sailed with Her, read about Her and adored Her. And when the sun sets on that day, the Naval Ensign and Commissioning Pendent will be lowered for a last time on board INS Viraat, symbolic of the end of the Viraat era in Indian Navy’s History. In other words, INS Viraat will be decommissioned at a grand ceremony being held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. According to Indian Navy, the decommissioning ceremony will be attended by personnel who have served on board INS Viraat in the past, and will also include some of the officers and men from United Kingdom. Recalling her might, Vice Admiral A K Chawla, Chief of Personnel, Indian Navy tells Mathrubhumi that sailors believe that every ship has a soul. “INS Viraat was one such ship. During her three decades with the Indian Navy she faithfully met every commitment and imbued successive generations of her crew with her indomitable spirit. She will live on in our hearts and minds forever,” says Vice Admiral Chawla, who was the Commanding Officer of the ship from 2008 to 2010. They say old ships never die, their spirits live on. In this Photo Feature, our Defence Correspondent puts together 10 interesting snippets on INS Viraat, based on information sourced from Indian Navy. Photo Credit: Indian Navy
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INS Viraat has spent 30 years in the Indian Navy and 27 years in the Royal Navy.

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The aircraft carrier was commissioned into the Indian Navy on May 12 1987 with Her motto being: "Jalamev Yasya, Balmev Tasya,” meaning: One who controls the sea is all powerful.

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The ship holds the Guinness Books of record for being the longest serving warship of the world.

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The ship which has been the centre piece of the Navy, housed the fighters Sea Harriers of INAS 300 popularly called White Tigers, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King Mk 42B, Sea King Mk 42 C known as Harpoons and the SAR helicopter Chetak as an integral flight.

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Under the Indian Flag, the ship has clocked more than 22,622 flying hours by various aircraft in the past three decades and has spent nearly 2252 days at sea sailing and 5,88,287 NM (10,94,215 KM).

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The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operation, after which she was affiliated with Garhwal Riffles and Scouts of the Indian Army in 1990. Her major participation was seen during Op Parakram in 2001-2002 where India and Pakistan were engaged in a stand-off post terrorist attack on the Parliament. 

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The last operational deployment of Viraat was for participation in International Fleet Review (IFR 2016) off Vishakhapatnam in February 2016.

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INS Viraat’s presence in the Western Fleet has been marked by victories such as being awarded Best Ship of the Western Fleet for four times and winning the pulling regatta, between fleet ships, 13 times.

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‘Mother’, as she is referred to in the Western Navy, has been commanded by 22 Captains since 1987. She has been the Flag Ship of the Navy since her inception.

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Around 40 Flag officers including five Chiefs of Naval Staff were raised and groomed in her lap. 

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