Last British Operational Aircraft Carrier Sold to Recycling Company

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The last British Illustrious-class aircraft carrier, which recently started its final sailing, has been sold to a Turkish recycling company.

Last British Operational Aircraft Carrier Sold to Recycling Company

The Illustrious started its service in the Royal Navy in 1982, after the Falklands War (Photo: PA Wire / Steve Parsons)

The last British Illustrious-class aircraft carrier has left Plymouth and started its final sailing, the BBC public service broadcaster reported on Wednesday. The vessel was sold to a Turkish recycling company.

According to the British Defense Ministry, the aircraft carrier was sold for £2 million (more than $2.5 million). Earlier, the British authorities assumed that the Illustrious may be kept in memory of the Invincible-class aircraft carriers, which are currently out of production.

The ship was launched in 1978. This light aircraft carrier was designed to carry short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft and helicopters. In August 2014, the vessel was removed from the British Royal Navy after 32 years of service. Former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the UK, Admiral Jock Slater, was the first commanding officer on the Illustrious.

“I am very sad to see the last of the Illustrious-class ships, going on recycling,” Slater told BBC.

The 22,000-ton ship, also known as the Lusty, took part in military operations in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. Currently, the UK is building aircraft carriers of a new generation, the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, at shipyards in Rosyth, Scotland, which should replace aircraft carriers of the old type. But, according to the British Navy, the new vessels will be ready no sooner than 10 years later. And all this time, the UK will have to stay without any aircraft carriers.

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