She was the flagship of the British taskforce to the Falklands, the last of the Centaur-class carriers and is possibly the longest serving warship in the world.
Named after the winged messenger of the Greek gods, HMS Hermes was in service with the Royal Navy from 1959 to 1984. The ship eventually reinvented itself as the INS Viraat, serving in the Indian Navy for a further 31 years.
The INS Viraat, certainly the world's longest serving aircraft carrier, will be decommissioned next year, after 57 years in service.
The British aircraft carrier was the last of the Centaur-class and had a displacement of 23,000 tons, measuring up at a length of 774 ft 9 inches.
10th March 1960: A particularly poignant date in Hermes’ history came when the ship passed over the same spot where Hermes 9 was sunk by Japanese bombers in 1942.
The claim to be the longest-serving aircraft carrier is not in doubt, but the longest serving warship?
Whatever the counter-claims of the USS Constitution or HMS Victory, surviving the rapid technological advances throughout the 20th and 21st century when Hermes completed most of her service makes her endurance all the more impressive.
Hermes still showed value despite all the modern upgrades to today's ‘digital’ ships, with the onset of 3D printed technology and autonomous robots.
Sometimes referred to as a “one-Harrier carrier,” INS Viraat‘s decommissioning will mark a mostly symbolic moment for the Indian Navy.
Her contribution to Indian Naval aviation was a modest one, with a limited group of Sea Harrier jets and indigenously-designed utility helicopters using her on a regular basis.
Indian Air Force Jaguars, Indian Navy Sea Harriers, and U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets, flying in formation over INS Viraat during Exercise Malabar.