Viraat is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier currently in service with the Indian Navy. Viraat is the flagship of the Indian Navy. Viraat was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959. During her career as Hermes, she served as the flagship of the Royal Navy task force in the Falkland Islands campaign. HMS Hermes would serve the Royal Navy another three years until she was stricken from active duty in 1985.
After evaluating vessels from several countries, particularly the Garibaldi class of Italian ships, the Indian Navy purchased the vessel in April 1986 and gave it an extensive refit at Devonport Dockyard to allow for continued operability into the next decade. Further upgrades have allowed Viraat to be remain operational until at least 2012.
In a wartime scenario, the INS Viraat can embark up to 18 combat aircraft. INS Viraat is ideally suited for two missions: supporting amphibious operations and conducting ASW operations. Despite its age and range considerations, INS Viraat can quite effectively project naval and air power anywhere in the South Asia region.