God Save The Queen!
HMS Illustrious, the second most famous commissioned warship in the Royal
Navy, returned to Portsmouth naval base for the last time July 21,
marking the end of a 32-year career for the helicopter carrier.
handed over duties as the Navy’s helicopter carrier to Ocean, the
22,000-ton Illustrious, affectionately known as Lusty, is scheduled to
be officially decommissioned by the end of the year.
has clocked almost 890,000 miles and seen service in the Falkland
Islands, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Iraq and elsewhere. Her final public role
was to play a part in the naming ceremony of the Royal Navy’s new
65,000-ton carrier Queen Elizabeth on July 4.
Unlike the other two
Invincible-class carriers, which ended their days in the breaker’s
yard, Lusty may have a more dignified future. The Ministry of Defence
has invited tenders to turn the warship into a museum.
was launched in 1978, the second of the three light carriers built to
deploy BAE Systems Sea Harrier jets and helicopters.
its fleet of Harriers in the 2010 strategic defence and security review,
controversially leaving the Royal Navy without a fast jet capability — a
gap that will only be filled in 2020 when the carrier Queen Elizabeth
is scheduled to become operational, deploying F-35 Lightening II jets.
underwent a refit to take over the task as the Royal Navy’s helicopter
carrier when Ocean underwent a £65 million (US $million) refit.
Royal Navy fleet fame, Illustrious is second only to HMS Victory, the
104-gun flagship of Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar, which
despite being launched in 1765 is still in commission as the First Sea
Pic - “We have set a standard for others to follow as the Illustrious now takes on the responsibility as the nation’s on-call helicopter and commando carrier.”