The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Invincible which played a crucial part in winning the 1982 Falklands War has been given a new lease of life.
It has been announced in the British Parliament that the 16,000-ton warship is to go into dock next year for a comprehensive re-fit and modernisation. This means that the ship which was due to be sold to Australia just before the Argentine invasion will continue in service for another twelve years, thirty years longer than intended.
Her two sister ships Ark Royal and the Ilustrious which replaced Invincible in the South Atlantic after the Argentine surrender, are also having refits, to maintain the Navy's air warfare capability until all three light aircraft carriers are replaced by two larger carriers by 2012 at a cost of 2.7 billion pounds (4-billion dollars).
Invincible with the aircraft carrier Hermes, which was also to be sold prior to the Falklands, were the two vital vessels without which the Task Force could not have sailed nor the war won, without the air defence they provided against Argentina's strike aircraft.
The Task Force Commander, Sir John "Sandy" Woodward, declared that both vessels were "indispensable". He said that major damage to either could have led to abandonment of the whole Falklands operation. Argentina falsely claimed that both carriers had been sunk.
Harold Briley, London