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HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

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HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby SKB » 27 May 2015, 00:50

Image
^ HMS Hermes, 1982

Introduction

HMS Hermes was a conventional British aircraft carrier and the last of the Centaur class.
Hermes was in service with the Royal Navy from 1959 until 1984, and she served as the flagship of the British forces during the 1982 Falklands War.
After being sold to India in 1986, the vessel was recommissioned and remains in service with the Indian Navy as INS Viraat.


Construction and modifications

The ship was laid down by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness during World War II as HMS Elephant. Construction was suspended in 1945 but work was resumed in 1952 to clear the slipway and the hull was launched on 16 February 1953. The vessel remained unfinished until 1957, when she entered service on 18 November 1959, rechristened as HMS Hermes after extensive modifications which included installation of a massive Type 984 'searchlight' 3D radar, a fully angled deck with a deck-edge elevator, and steam catapults. With these changes she more resembled the reconstructed aircraft carrier Victorious than the other three ships in the class.

Hermes initially operated Supermarine Scimitar, de Havilland Sea Vixen, and Fairey Gannet fixed-wing aircraft, together with Westland Whirlwind helicopters.


Operations

Proposed operation of F-4 Phantom
Civil Lord of the Admiralty John Hay said in Parliament on 2 March 1964 that "Phantoms will be operated from "Hermes", "Eagle" and the new carrier when it is built. ... Our present information and advice is that the aircraft should be able to operate from "Hermes" after she has undergone her refit." This seemed optimistic, as most sources believed Victorious was the smallest carrier then in commission that the modified RN F-4K versions of the Phantom could realistically have operated from. While the Phantoms built for the RN were modified in ways similar to F-8 Crusaders for the French Navy - improving deceleration on landing - the modifications were not entirely successful. Hermes‍ '​s flight deck was too short, her arresting gear as well as her catapults were not powerful enough to recover or launch the F-4K's, even though they were slightly lighter, more economical and higher performing than their US Navy counterparts[citation needed]. The Phantom trials held on Hermes in 1969-70 proved this out, though in the views of Minister of Defence, Denis Healey, the carrier could operate the most modern aircraft, but in too small numbers to be effective. The MOD briefly considered F-8's, and then considered the A-4M Skyhawk around 1969; the French had successfully operated the F-8 from its two Clemenceau-class light fleet carriers (which, at 869 feet (265 m) were much larger than Hermes), while the A-4 had been selected by the Royal Australian Navy to operate from HMAS Melbourne. However, both the Crusader and the Skyhawk were already considered near-obsolete by the end of the 1960s. Nevertheless the light A-4M Skyhawks would have allowed the Hermes to carry a viable late 1970's air group of 20 Skyhawks, 6 Sea Kings and 4 Gannet AEW aircraft..

Proposed transfer to Australia
A 1966 review indicated that Hermes was surplus to operational requirements and she was offered to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a replacement for HMAS Melbourne. In 1968, Hermes took part in a combined exercise with the RAN, during which the carrier was visited by senior RAN officers and Australian government officials, while RAN A-4G Skyhawks and Grumman S-2 Trackers practised landings on the larger carrier.[4] The offer was turned down due to operating and manpower costs.

Proposed international fleet
Hermes served as one of four Royal Navy strike carriers mainly in the Indian Ocean area until 1970. She could have seen action against the Egyptians when Egypt closed off the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in May 1967 when the UK and US contemplated forming an international fleet to open the straits with force if necessary, but the idea never materialised.

Commando/ASW/STOVL carrier
When the decision was made in the mid-1960s to phase out fixed wing carrier operations Hermes was slated to become a "Commando Carrier" for Royal Marine operations (similar in concept to a US Navy LHA), and in 1972 underwent a refit in which her arresting cables, steam catapults, and 3-D radar were removed. Landing craft and berthing for 800 troops were added and her airwing became approximately 20 Sea King helicopters. By 1976, with the Soviet submarine threat becoming apparent and through NATO pressure, a further mild conversion was performed for Hermes to become an anti-submarine warfare carrier to patrol the North Atlantic. Hermes underwent one more conversion and new capabilities were added when she was refitted at Portsmouth from 1980 to June 1981, during which a 12-degree ski-jump and facilities for operating Sea Harriers were incorporated.

Falklands War
Hermes was due to be decommissioned in 1982 after a defence review (that would have made the Royal Navy considerably smaller) by the British government, but when the Falklands War broke out, she was made the flagship of the British forces, setting sail for the South Atlantic just three days after the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. She sailed for the Falklands with an airgroup of 12 Sea Harrier FRS1 attack aircraft of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and 18 Sea King helicopter. A few weeks after sailing, more aircraft were flown or transported via other ships to replace some losses and augment the task force. Hermes‍ '​s airgroup grew to 16 Sea Harriers, 10 Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3s of the Royal Air Force, and 10 Sea Kings (after some of the helicopters were dispersed to other ships) as well as a troop of Special Air Service (SAS) and Royal Marines. As she was the RN's largest carrier, she was considered too valuable to risk close into the Falklands, due to the possibility of Argentinian air force attacks. Her Harriers therefore operated at the limit of their endurance radius, but were very successful in keeping the enemy aircraft at bay.

After the Falklands War
After her return home from the Falklands conflict Hermes entered into a much needed 4-month refit to her propulsion and electrical systems, as well as a thorough cleaning and repainting. When this was completed in November 1982, she embarked stores and performed work-ups exercises. She then took part in NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean Sea as a commando carrier. In the autumn of 1983 she took part in her last exercise, Ocean Safari, where she reverted to a strike carrier role, embarking 12 Sea Harriers, 10 RAF Harrier GR.3s and 10 Sea Kings. After this exercise she returned to the UK for a minor refit and into maintained reserve in February 1984.

In 1983, when the proposed sale of the aircraft carrier Invincible to the Royal Australian Navy was cancelled following the Falklands War, an offer was made to sell Hermes and a squadron of Sea Harriers to Australia. However the new Hawke Government decided against purchasing a replacement for HMAS Melbourne.

Hermes served with the Royal Navy until 12 April 1984. She was paid off in 1985.


INS Viraat

In April 1986 Hermes was towed from Portsmouth Dockyard to Devonport Dockyard to be refitted, re activated and sold to India, recommissioning and sailing as INS Viraat in 1987.

In February 2015, the navy stated that Viraat would be decommissioned the following year. On 23 July 2016, Viraat sailed for the last time under her own power from Mumbai to Kochi, where she was dry-docked and prepared for decommissioning. She was towed out of Kochi on 23 October, returning to Mumbai on 28 October, where she was laid up. Viraat was formally decommissioned on 6th March 2017. Her ultimate fate is currently undetermined.


Class and type: Centaur-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 23,000 tonnes standard 2; 28,000 tonnes full load
Length: 236.14 m (774 ft 9 in)
Beam: 45.10 m (148 ft 0 in)
Draught: 27.8 ft (8.5 m)
Propulsion: 2 Parson turbines, 76,000 shp (57 MW)
Speed: 28 kn (52 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h)
Complement: 2,100
Armament: 10 × 40 mm Bofors
After 1970: 2 × Sea Cat launchers
Aircraft carried:
Up to 1970:12 Sea Vixens, 7 Buccaneers, 5 Gannets and 6 Wessex
After 1980: up to 28 Sea Harriers and 9 Westland Sea Kings

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1954-1984) (RN)

Postby SKB » 27 May 2015, 00:51

HMS Hermes (R12), The Falkland Islands 1982


HMS Hermes returns to Portsmouth after the Falklands victory. (40 minutes)

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1954-1984) (RN)

Postby SKB » 27 May 2015, 00:55

Probably the most famous image of HMS Hermes
Image

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby SKB » 08 Jun 2015, 00:17

Pathé news film of when HMS Hermes entered service in 1959!

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 05 Jul 2015, 10:20

Viraat (ex-Hermes) will be turned into a museum in India when it decommissions in 2016

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation ... 02073.html

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby GibMariner » 21 Jan 2016, 11:00

INS Viraat (ex-HMS Hermes) sets off on last tour of duty

India's oldest warhorse may now be creaking at all her numerous joints but she is still game for a show of strength, a wee bit of power projection on the high seas for the last time. The 56-year-old aircraft carrier INS Viraat has now set sail for what will be her last operational deployment.

The 28,000-tonne INS Viraat, which embarked six Sea Harrier jump-jets as well as six Sea King and four Chetak helicopters from Goa on Wednesday, is headed for Visakhapatnam to take part in the International Fleet Review (IFR) from February 5 to 8.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 662285.cms

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby GibMariner » 04 Feb 2016, 10:24


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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 08 Feb 2016, 16:32

Sailor Reunited With His Old Ship After 30 Years Apart
More than 30 years after he last set foot on her, sailor Conrad ‘Whiskey’ Walker was reunited with his first Royal Navy ship – 5,000 miles from home.

The veteran engineer aboard HMS Defender – the Royal Navy’s second newest destroyer – began his Naval career all the way back in 1978 on the carrier HMS Hermes.

She is still in service but with the Indian Navy, now know as the INS Viraat she takes her final bow at this weekend’s International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam before decommissioning.

With Defender flying the flag for the UK at the review alongside 70 Indian and international warships, the chance to say ‘goodbye’ to Hermes was too good to miss for Conrad.
Read More: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-la ... ears-apart

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby Pymes75 » 08 Feb 2016, 21:48

The Armchair Soldier wrote:Sailor Reunited With His Old Ship After 30 Years Apart
More than 30 years after he last set foot on her, sailor Conrad ‘Whiskey’ Walker was reunited with his first Royal Navy ship – 5,000 miles from home.

The veteran engineer aboard HMS Defender – the Royal Navy’s second newest destroyer – began his Naval career all the way back in 1978 on the carrier HMS Hermes.

She is still in service but with the Indian Navy, now know as the INS Viraat she takes her final bow at this weekend’s International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam before decommissioning.

With Defender flying the flag for the UK at the review alongside 70 Indian and international warships, the chance to say ‘goodbye’ to Hermes was too good to miss for Conrad.
Read More: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-la ... ears-apart



Bravo Zulu, CPO Walker. What a legend!

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 28 Feb 2016, 11:34

Daily Mail reporting that HMS Hermes will be converted into luxury accomodation:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ation.html

I can't find any other source so perhaps take it with a pinch of salt.

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby arfah » 28 Feb 2016, 12:11

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Why this forum is pish!

1: Ineffective moderators
2: Too many fantasists ruining dedicated equipment threads with notions of what gun/mortar/artillery/missiles the equipment should have because it makes their panties moist.

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (RN)

Postby GibMariner » 07 Mar 2016, 10:45

INS Viraat chief engineer dies after minor fire on ship
INS Viraat, which was on a routine deployment to Goa, reported an incident of steam leak and minor fire in one of the ship’s boiler rooms late this afternoon.
While the incident was quickly brought under control, four sailors who were present at the scene and combating the fire sustained injury from the smoke.
One of them, Chief Engineering Mechanic Ashu Singh was critical having suffered smoke inhalation. He was shifted to the naval hospital at Goa where he suffered a cardiac arrest and succumbed to his injury. Next of kin have been informed.


Read more: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ ... ns-viraat/

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby SKB » 07 Mar 2017, 17:44

Former HMS Hermes (1959-1984) and ex INS Viraat (1987-2017) finally decommissioned


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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby 2HeadsBetter » 07 Mar 2017, 19:28

Was John Nott invited?

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby whitelancer » 07 Mar 2017, 19:48

2HeadsBetter wrote:Was John Nott invited?

He is probably too busy trying to flog off P of W

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby RNFollower » 25 Aug 2017, 15:31

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hms-hermes-repatriation/

Sounds good, but I doubt it would ever happen based on what happened to Lusty :cry:

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby shark bait » 29 Aug 2017, 08:02

Nice idea, but 100k wont even scratch the surface, not a serious fund.
@LandSharkUK

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby R686 » 29 Aug 2017, 10:04

Yep considering that The Australian National Maritime Museum had a budget increase this year of 13.9 million of which 3 million is allocated to HMAS Onslow and HMAS Vampire, I'd hate to see what it would cost to preserve a carrier. But I wish we preserved the floating casino instead of selling to China

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Aug 2017, 11:32

R686 wrote:floating casino instead of selling to China


Officially, the Varyag was also "meant" to be a casino... look how well preserved it is now :)

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby R686 » 29 Aug 2017, 11:39

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
R686 wrote:floating casino instead of selling to China


Officially, the Varyag was also "meant" to be a casino... look how well preserved it is now :)


There was a story going around many years ago, I don't know how true it was or not but they asked for the detailed plans for the catapult and arresting gear. But they took a long time to scrap her.

Must have liked the British engineering :lol:

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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby SKB » 22 Jul 2018, 07:32


(Wednesday 21st July 1982)

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Re: HMS Ark Royal (R09) (Audacious Class Aircraft Carrier) (1955-1979) (RN)

Postby Lord Jim » 13 Sep 2018, 23:42

Wasn't quite sure where to put this but it is a good nostalgic video.


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Re: HMS Hermes (R12) (Centaur Class Aircraft Carrier) (1959-1984) (Ex RN)

Postby Ron5 » 07 Nov 2018, 22:53

That's a funny way to preserve a ship.

Probably done with UK aid :D


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