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Falklands War carrier HMS Illustrious headed for scrapping in Turkey

Thursday, December 8th 2016 - 17:18 UTC
Full article 10 comments
HMS Illustrious is the last aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy until the new Elizabeth-class ships become available  HMS Illustrious is the last aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy until the new Elizabeth-class ships become available

Replacements are years away and still Britain’s last aircraft carrier, ‘HMS Illustrious,’ has set sail to be scrapped in Turkey. The vessel, known as 'Lusty,' came into service in 1982 and was rushed into service to catch the lattermost stages of the Falklands War. She also served in the Gulf Wars and Sierra Leone conflict. It was one of three Invincible-class ships commissioned in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 A last attempt to raise enough money to turn the carrier into a floating museum failed in November and it will now be scrapped at the LEYAL shipyard in Turkey. The UK’s two Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are currently under construction. HMS Elizabeth is not due to come into service until 2020 and HMS Prince of Wales some years after.

But the Royal Navy has other concerns besides aircraft carriers. In November alone it was reported that no replacements had been planned for the Royal Navy’s standard shipboard missile system, the Harpoon, and that the lack of warships was “woefully” low to the point of becoming a major security issue. A report by the National Audit Office also found that power cables at the Portsmouth base where the Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will be docked are more than 80 years old and that no funds exist to improve them.

In late November, one of the Royal Navy’s cutting-edge Type 45 destroyers had to be towed back to port just two days after setting off to take part in NATO exercises. ‘HMS Duncan’ is believed to have suffered total propulsion failure, forcing it back into Plymouth harbor.

Despite the force’s decline, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said that “at the height of Empire and beyond” the navy had “always been the guardian of maritime trade” and that it was “naval power that opened China and Japan to Western markets.” He added that “as the government looks to extend the UK’s economic partnerships, as signified by the creation of a new Department for International Trade in the last two weeks, the Royal Navy’s role in supporting prosperity rises to the fore once more.”


Top Comments

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  • gordo01

    Replacements years away? Portsmouth is expecting the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth early in 2017!

    Dec 09th, 2016 - 06:15 am 0
  • Bisley

    A new warship, particularly the vastly complicated and electronically controlled sort built today, takes several years of sea trials, changes and repairs to get everything to work properly, training of officers and crew to operate it, etc. -- before it is fit for service. Getting it in the water and able to move under its own power is only the beginning of this process.

    One would think the fools in government would have had enough sense to have kept their only operational carrier in service until its replacement was ready to go -- evidently not. Th UK will have no armed forces fit for use unless government sees them as a higher priority than the thousands of stupid, unnecessary and wasteful things it squanders money on.

    Dec 09th, 2016 - 05:33 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    @ Bisley
    What are all these things you believe the government wastes money on? Pensions? The NHS? Teachers? Prison guards? Border patrol vessels?

    The truth is the government have been trying to save money nearly everywhere since 2010 and it shows. And still the National Debt increases every year with no end in sight.

    Plus, there's no point keeping the aircraft carrier anyway; they already got rid of the only planes that could fly from it.

    Dec 09th, 2016 - 07:40 pm 0
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