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Construction was suspended in but work was resumed in to clear the slipway and the hull was launched on 16 February The vessel remained unfinished until , when she entered service on 18 November as HMS Hermes after extensive modifications which included installation of a massive Type '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.
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While Cronin and the helicopter's two man crew were saved by another helicopter from Hermes , Lord Windlesham and an RAF officer being carried as a passenger were killed. Our present information and advice is that the aircraft should be able to operate from "Hermes" after she has undergone her refit. The projected F-4 superior fuel efficiency using the Spey engines was overshadowed by larger engine size and inflexibility. From the smaller Hermes takeoff would be at 25k rather than 28k from Eagle.
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-4Ks, 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 — proved this, 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. Hermes served as one of four Royal Navy strike carriers mainly in the Indian Ocean and finally in the Mediterranean Sea until decommissioned in She could have seen action against the Egyptians when Egypt closed off the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in May when the UK and US contemplated forming an international fleet to open the straits with force if necessary,  but the UK backed down.
Therefore, Hermes was docked down in number 10 Dock in Devonport Dockyard between and , undergoing a conversion in which her arresting cables, steam catapults, and 3-D radar were removed.
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Landing craft and berthing for troops were added and her airwing became approximately 20 Sea King helicopters. By , 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 was due to be decommissioned in 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.
A few weeks after sailing, more aircraft were flown or transported via other ships to replace some losses and augment the task force. As she was the RN's largest carrier, she was considered too valuable to risk close into the Falklands, due to the possibility of Argentine 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 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 , she embarked stores and performed work-ups exercises.
After this exercise, she called into Devonport for a minor refit and thereafter into maintained reserve in Portsmouth. In , 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. Hermes served with the Royal Navy until 12 April On this day she entered Portsmouth with a reduced crew, under her own steam, flying the White Ensign for the final time as a seagoing ship.
Following her decommissioning from the Indian Navy in , a crowdfunding campaign was launched to preserve Hermes as a museum piece. On 1 November the Maharashtra cabinet approved the conversion of Viraat into India's first moored maritime museum and marine adventure centre. It would be located near Nivati , Sindhudurg district.
List of aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other ships with the same name, see HMS Hermes. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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