150

<< . >>

NAME

HMS. HERMES (VIRAAT)

CLASS

AIRCRAFT CARRIER

ENT/SERVICE 

NOVEMBER 18th 1959

BUILT

VICKERS ARMSTRONG / BARROW IN FURNESS / ENGLAND

WEIGHT

23,000 TONS

LENGTH

744 FEET

WIDTH

90 FEET - FLIGHT DECK 144 FEET

SPEED

28.5 KNOTS - TURBINE ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS

AIRCRAFT

42 - WORLD WAR 11 TYPE


Although the British Navy ordered eight Centaur class carriers during World War Two, it took until 1953/54 for Centaur, Albion and Bulwark to be completed. The fourth carrier Hermes entered service five years later with a slightly modified design. The order for the other four carriers was cancelled at the end of the war.  Harrier jump jets began entering service for the British Navy in 1969. This led to Hermes being fitted with a ski jump in 1977 so Harriers with heavy loads could save fuel on takeoff. Argentine forces invaded the Falkland’s in April 1982 claiming the islands belonged to Argentina, as they were situated in Argentine waters. The Falkland’s had been fought over by the British, French, Spanish and Argentines since their discovery in the 15th Century. The British eventually took control of the islands and declared them a British Colony in 1842.

HMS Hermes

The British response to the invasion was to assemble all their available warships. The two carriers selected were Hermes with 12 Harrier jump jets and the newly commissioned Invincible vertical take off and landing carrier with 8 Harriers. The two carriers led a task force consisting of 8 destroyers, 15 frigates, 6 submarines and various types of support ships. Throughout the invasion of the Falkland Islands, the sub sonic Harriers shot down 22 Argentine aircraft, some of which were supersonic. Of the six Harriers lost, none were to Argentine aircraft. The Harrier success was put down to their greater maneuverability and with them using the American designed Sidewinder missiles. Hermes returned to Britain unscathed after the Argentines surrendered June 14th 1982. Following the arrival of another two Invincible class carriers, Illustrious in 1982 and Ark Royal V in 1985, Hermes was taken out of service and sold to India in 1986. Under her new name Viraat, she is expected to stay in service with the Indian Navy until the year 2010.

HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes bow

HMS Hermes bow

HMS Invincible

<< . >>