The Indian Navy’s Centaur-class aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, is reportedly planned to be modified into a luxury hotel, as part of efforts to promote tourism in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Following its decommissioning this year, work on the proposal to develop the aircraft carrier into a hotel in the sea, or a museum will depend on logistics and receipt of approval from the country’s defence ministry.
The Hindu reported that the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), the Indian Navy, and a yet to be identified private firm would partner to launch a joint venture for the conversion programme.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was quoted by media sources as saying: "It will have 500 rooms and a conference hall to seat 500 people. Since it is an aircraft carrier, helicopters can easily land on it. It will be convenient to hold conferences, apart from being a major tourist attraction."
Central government is expected to pledge a contribution to the project by promoting it under a public private partnership (PPP).
The aircraft carrier, after being modified, will be docked at the shores of Visakhapatnam city, and will serve as a tourist attraction.
The city also houses INS Kursura, a Soviet-built decommissioned submarine, which was converted into a museum in 2002.
The INS Viraat, weighing 28,000t, initially served the UK Royal Navy as HMS Hermes. She was acquired by the Indian Navy in May 1987, and re-christened as the INS Viraat.
The 226.5m-long aircraft carrier is fitted with a 12° ski jump to launch Sea Harriers, a reinforced flight deck, and 3cm of armour over the magazines and machinery spaces.
Image: Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya. Photo: courtesy of Indian Navy.