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Lynx Mk8 from 825 NAS looks out on HMS Hermes (INS Viraat)
Lynx lands on HMS Hermes (INS Viraat) for the last time
HMS Defender and HMS Hermes (INS Viraat)
HMS Defender and HMS Hermes (INS Viraat)


Published: 17 Feb 2016

FOR the very last time a Fleet Air Arm aircraft landed on one of the Royal Navy’s most legendary carriers , HMS Hermes as she goes out of service.


Lynx Helicopter Flight from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton landed on the famous carrier Hermes, which  has for the past three decades flown the Indian Ensign as the INS Viraat, as she lowers the flag for good. Previously HMS Hermes under the White Ensign was the flagship of theFalklandstask force back in 1982.


The Viraat’s farewell appearance at the Indian Navy’s International Fleet Review gave the Royal Navy in the form of destroyer HMS Defender and her Lynx helicopter flight the opportunity to say goodbye off the east coastportofVisakhapatnam.


Flight Commander Lieutenant (Lt) Hamish Walker, Defender’s Lynx pilot from 825 Naval Air Squadron inSomersetsaid:


 “It has been a great honour to be the last Fleet Air Arm pilot to land on the ship. She holds a very important place in Royal Navy history, and in the memories of all those who have served on her, both British and Indian.”


HMS Defenders Commanding Officer Cdr Steve Higham added:


“It was a privilege to see a ship which has played such a vital role for both the Royal Navy, and the Indian Navy. It is a testament to our shared history and shows the value of continued co-operation between our two great countries.”


Viraat, home to Sea Harriers just as she was in her final years as HMS Hermes is now conducting a goodbye tour of Indian Navy bases before officially decommissions. The plan is to turn the carrier, laid down just a fortnight after D-Day in 1944, but not completed until the end of the 1950s, into a museum ship.


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