Hermes gets no bidders
As we have talked about previously, the WWII vintage Centaur-class fleet carrier HMS Hermes (61/R12) spent 28 years in the Royal Navy– including as flagship of the Falklands task force– then went on to give the Indian Navy another 31 years of hard service as INS Viraat (R22) before she was retired in 2017.
As far as I can tell, she was the longest-serving aircraft carrier under any flag, surpassing USS Lexington (CV-16/AVT-16) which clocked in for 48 years in a row– although the last couple of decades of that were as a training ship out of Pensacola– and USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which was a hard charger for 51 years.
While the Indians had tossed around the idea of making Viraat a museum in Mumbai, no cash could be spared and she went to the auction block this week– with no bidders.
She is expected to be relisted, and maybe the Indian government will allow groups outside of the country to place a bid, a prospect that could see her return back home to the UK where veterans groups aim to preserve her there.
We’ll keep you updated.