Aircraft carrier makes pit stop in portsmouth

HMS Illustrious, Britain’s
last aircraft carrier, is due to pay a flying visit to Portsmouth today
(Monday) for the first time since emerging from a 16-month refit. The
22,000-tonne ship is carrying out an extensive programme of post-refit sea
trials and is scheduled to rejoin the fleet at the Hampshire naval base at the
end of July.

540,000 litres of paint were used during her
refit, which was carried out at Rosyth, and modifications were made to turn her into a
helicopter and commando carrier. ‘Lusty’, as the ship is affectionately
nicknamed, is now capable of carrying a force of up to 20 helicopters and 600
fully kitted-out personnel.

£40 million refit included installation of a new
computer and communications system and a defensive anti-torpedo system, while
living conditions for the crew and any embarked troops were also upgraded. “We
are in top condition for the challenges ahead”, said her commanding officer, Captain
Jerry Kyd, “We are now raring to go”.

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