Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Goodbye Ark Royal 1981 - 2013

Sold to Turkish scrap dealers for £2.9 million after various plans to keep her as a museum. tourist attraction, city heli-pad, casino, and even an artificial reef, sadly fell through.

The Mighty Ark leaves Pompey for the final time, May 20th 2013

HMS Ark Royal's keel was laid by Swan Hunter at Wallsend on the on the River Tyne 7 December 1978. 

She was originally named HMS Indomitable in keeping with the rest of the "I" class, but her name was changed because of public sentiment of the scrapping in 1980 of the previous Ark Royal after 30 years loyal service.    

The third and final vessel of the Invincible class,  she was launched in 1981 and completed and commissioned in 1985 at a cost of £320 million.

Nicknamed "The Mighty Ark," she was the fifth Royal Navy ship to have been named after the flagship that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. 

Her home port was H.M. Dockyard Porstmouth.
Slightly larger than her sister ships, and with a steeper "ski-jump, Ark Royal 5 carried the STOVL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) Harrier aircraft, as well as various helicopters. 

HMS Ark Royal 1981 - 2013      
Displacement:22,000 tons
Length:210 m (689 ft)
Beam:36 m
Draught:7.5 m
Propulsion:4 × Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B gas turbines providing 97,000 hp (75 MW)
Paxman Valenta diesel generators.
Speed:30+ knots,
Range:5,000 nautical miles at 18 knots
(9,300 km at 33 km/h)
Complement:685 crew
366 Fleet Air Arm
Armament:3 × Mark 15 Phalanx CIWS
2 × GAM-B01 20 mm guns
Aircraft carried:
Until December 2010, 22 aircraft;

With a crew complement of over 1,000 sailors and aviators, she saw action  in the 1990's Bosnia War and the Iraq war in 2003.
Originally due to be retired in 2016, the old girl was instead decommissioned on Friday 11 March 2011, as part of the RN "restructuring"  - M.O.D. speak for savage defence cuts to save money, allegedly £100 million over her proposed next 5 years. 
Good bye, proud ship.

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