(And Is Now Killing-Off Its Only Aircraft Carrier)
“HMS Illustrious, the last of the Royal Navy’s Invincible-class carriers, has set sail from Portsmouth to meet her doom at a Turkish scrapyard.
The British government chose to sell her for scrap in 2014, but Illustrious’ final journey nonetheless signals the end of an era during a low point for the shrinking Royal Navy. Illustrious was the second Invincible class between HMS Invincible and Ark Royal, scrapped in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
The carriers were products of the Cold War, as Britain designed them primarily to hunt Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic with their on-board complement of up to 22 helicopters of various types. Fixed-wing Harrier jets, taking off with the aid of a ski-jump ramp, provided extra firepower and defense from enemy aircraft.
While they were technically carriers by any reasonable definition, these 22,000-ton vessels were significantly lighter than the 100,000-ton Nimitz-class supercarriers of the U.S. Navy….”
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