Andhra Pradesh government plans to decommissioned aircraft carrier Viraat into a “dedicated tourist attraction”.This became evident when the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) published a tender notification in a newspaper inviting bids to appoint consultants for preparation of a techno economic feasibility report and detailed cost estimates for refurbishment and conversion of Viraat into a dedicated tourist attraction.
According to the announcement, the last date of submission of bid is 26 July, 2017. Viraat is currently docked in the Mumbai harbour after her retirement for service of the Indian Navy. INS Viraat was decommissioned on 6 March, 2017 after nearly four decades of service.INS Viraat was the centerpiece of Indian Navy’s Carrier Battle Group, which is a mutually-supportive and well balanced offensive array of maritime combatants, capable of multiple and varied missions spanning the entire spectrum of conflict from stable peace to all-out war.
Her keel was laid in 1944 and she was launched on February 16, 1953. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on November 18, 1959 as HMS Hermes. On May 12, 1987, she was commissioned under the White Ensign of the Indian Navy – and since then she had been serving the Indian interests. As HMS Hermes, she was the flagship of the South Atlantic Task Force during the beginning of Falklands War in 1982 – and during the conflict, her aircraft operated round the clocks and units from the ship destroyed a large number of enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground. By the time she returned home, she had completed 108 days of unbroken sea service and traveled more than 35,000 miles – a sort of record by itself. As a matter of fact, Prince Charles, the heir to British throne, also served on board Hermes. After the Falklands War, the ship was placed as a reserve and it was in April 1986 that India, in the quest of second aircraft carrier , signed an agreement with United Kingdom to acquire it. The ship underwent a year-long dry docking for essential repairs and modifications like the 12-degree launching ramp, popularly called, ski-jump. She underwent several refits in India and a mid-life upgrade.
Viraat displaced nearly 28,500 tonnes and is capable of operating Sea Harrier jump jets, a Short Take off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) fighter aircraftn and virtually all types of naval helicopters. The 12- degree ramp on the bows is the most striking visual feature of the ship and it helps to improve the safety factor as well as the radius of operation/payload carrying capacity of Sea Harrier. The ship is equipped with Close in Weapon System for self defence. The Computer Aided Action Information System (CAAIS) gives the command a complete picture of the tactical scenario based on information fed to the computer from all onboard sensors. This enables rapid decision making as reaction times, at sea, are minimal and makes possible the destruction of hostile platforms before they can threaten her.