The MOD has announced that, following an open competition, the former aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is to be recycled.
In 32 years of exemplary service, between 1982 and 2014, HMS Illustrious covered over 900,000 nautical miles. Operations ranged from stabilization efforts in the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf War and delivering humanitarian aid after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013.
In October 2013, the MOD launched a competition to seek innovative bids to retain the aircraft carrier in the UK. The aim of the competition was to see part or all of the ship developed for heritage purposes and, while a number of bids were received, none proved to be viable.
The ship has now been sold to Turkish company LEYAL Ship Recycling Ltd for around £2 million.
Both Invincible and Ark Royal, the sister ships of Illustrious, were also recycled. It is anticipated that Illustrious will leave Portsmouth for Turkey in the autumn of this year, ahead of the arrival of the first of the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2017. The QEC aircraft carriers, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, will transform the Royal Navy’s ability to project our influence overseas, able to respond to crises, while promoting our prosperity and British values globally.