The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Invincible which had a leading role in the recovery of the Falkland Islands in 1982 has been sold to a Turkish scrap-yard which specialises in recycling ships.
Together with HMS Hermes she was home of the Task Force strike force made up of the V/TOL Harriers and Sea Harriers that proved a formidable and versatile weapon even outnumbered by the Argentine Air Force and Navy aircraft. Rear Admiral “Sandy” Woodward commanded the Task group from HMS Invincible.
The carrier was sold through an internet site. Leyal Ship Recycling, which is based near Izmir, was chosen ahead of a bid by a UK-based Chinese businessman.
Lam Kin-bong - who owns restaurants in the West Midlands - had offered £5m and wanted to turn the former warship into an international school in China.
But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: After 25 years of service HMS Invincible was decommissioned nearly six years ago and having reached the end of her distinguished career, it is right that we secure a good financial return for the taxpayer.
The bid from Leyal Ship Recycling does this and also ensures she is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.”
Leyal has been involved in the scrapping of several Royal Navy ships - the destroyers Cardiff, Newcastle and Glasgow and auxiliary ship RFA Oakleaf.
HMS Invincible is expected to be towed from Portsmouth by the end of March and is expected to arrive in Turkey four weeks later. It will take eight months to dismantle.
HMS Invincible was the lead ship of three light aircraft carriers. She was launched on 3 May 1977 and is the seventh ship to carry the name. She saw action in the Falklands war when she was deployed with HMS Hermes and took over as Flagship of the British Fleet when Hermes was sold to India.
HMS Invincible was also deployed in Yugoslavia and Iraq, and was decommissioned in 2005.