HMS HERMES II
In 1971 the Hermes was recommissioned as a commando carrier, and then in the late 1970s as an interim V/STOL carrier. After serving as the flagship of the Royal Navy's task force during the Falklands war of 1981, she was paid off 12 April 1984. Stricken 1 July 1985.
The Hermes was sold to India 19 April 1986, and after a major refit at Devonport before transfer, the carrier, now renamed INS Viraat (R22), was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987. She was formally commissioned 15 February 1989. The current air group includes 12 or 18 Sea Harrier V/STOL fighters and seven or a eight Sea King or Kamov 'Hormone' ASW helicopters. In emergencies, the Viraat can operate up to 30 Harriers. INS Viraat in 2001 was the only remaining Indian carrier, is due for retirement by 2010 following an extensive Rs3 billion (US$71.4 million) modernisation programme that began 1999. INS Viraat underwent sea trials in December 2000 and will complete its refit by May 2001
Associations and Reunions
HMS Hermes Association: Reunion at Royal Fleet Club, Plymouth from 5th to 8th April, 2001.
|Carrier name||HMS Hermes (ex Elephant) Sold and renamed INS Viraat 1986 (India)|
|Class||(Modified Centaur Class)|
|Type||Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier|
|Ships in Class||Albion, Centaur, Hermes, Bulwark, Elephant, Monmouth, Arrogant & Polyphemus|
|Launched||Laid down June 1944. Launched February 1953. Laid up until 1957. Completed November 1959.|
|Tonnage||Displacement: 23,000 tons standard ; 27,800 tons full load|
|Engines||Propulsion: 4 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 2 shafts, Parsons geared turbines, 76,000 shp|
|Speed in Knots||Speed: 28 knots|
|Armament||Armament: 5 twin Bofors 40 mm ; 4 single 3 pdr saluting guns|
|Crew Complement||Complement: 2100 (including air group)|
|Range||Range: 5,040 nmiles at 20 knots ; 3,500 tons fuel oil|
|Length (ft/inches)||Dimensions: 774.75 oa x 147.9 x 27.8 feet|
|Flight Deck length (ft/inches)|
|Flight Deck width (ft/inches)|
|Armour||Armour: 1 to 2 inch flight deck|
|Number of aircraft carried||Aircraft: up to 28|
|Fate of carrier||Paid off April 1984. Stricken July 1985. Sold to India April 1986. Commissioned into Indian Navy May 1987, formally commissioned February 1989.|
|Notes||Due to differences in completion and refits, the technical details for Centaur and Hermes are listed individually.|
Eight ships of the Centaur class were ordered during the second world war as enlarged follow-ons to the Majestics, with more powerful machinery allowing fleet speeds. Four ships (Hermes, Monmouth, Arrogant & Polyphemus) were cancelled in October 1945, the first two of which had been laid down and were broken up on the slipway. To maintain the famous carrier name, one of the ships to be completed, Elephant, was renamed Hermes. Of the four ships completed only the first, Centaur, was completed to the original design with an axial flight deck although a small extension was soon added to allow an angled landing area.
Paid off for conversion to amphibious-assault helicopter carrier at Devonport Dockyard 14 July 1970. Conversion similar to Albion and Bulwark. Recommissioned at Devonport 18 August 1973, replacing Albion.