New Delhi, Jan 4: INS Viraat, India's only aircraft carrier will turn 50 this year. Indian Navy is planning a grant celebration to mark the warship's golden jubilee. Sources in Navy said that the celebrations would begin after the warship returns. Viraat is currently docked at the Cochin
Shipyard for repairs and maintenance.
INS Viraat will complete 23 years of service with the Indian Navy on May 12, 2009. If considered its service with the British Royal Navy (BRN) in its earlier form as 'HMS Hermes', the war-ship will complete 50 years on Nov 18.
Then Centaur Class aircraft carrier was acquired by the Indian Navy in 1987 from the British after it had served them for nearly 28 years and was re-christened as INS Viraat. It was first inducted in the BRN on Nov 18, 1959.
Sources say that the British Navy too would be invited to joint the events to celebrate the warships golden jubilee. After the present repair works, India is likey to make Viraat labour till 2015. By then the warship weighing 28,000-tonne whose estimated sailing life is of 25 years
will complete more than double life span of 55 years.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)