Former UK aircraft carrier en route to Turkey for scrap
İZMİRThe Queen Elizabeth HMS Illustrious, formerly Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier, will soon sail out of its home port to be scrapped and recycled in Turkey’s west.
The ship, which served in the British Naval Forces for 31 years before its retirement, was recently bought by Leval, a Turkish firm which is active in the ship recycling business in the Aegean district of Aliağa in İzmir, for 2.1 million pounds ($2.7 million).
The Queen Elizabeth HMS Illustrious, which can carry 14 aircrafts and make 52 kilometers in an hour, is expected to leave its main ports after the required procedures are completed and make a 20-day journey to its destination in İzmir.
The aircraft carrier, which is 209 meters long, 30 meters high and 20,600 tons in weight, accompanied Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, during their Istanbul visit in 2008.
The HMS Ark Royal, the sister ship of the HMS Illustrious, was also decomposed and recycled in 2013 by the same company. Leval paid 10 million Turkish Liras ($3.4 million) to buy the aircraft carrier and produced a total of 16,000 tons of steel scrap, according to company representatives.
The warship saw active service in the Balkans and the second war in Iraq.
Leval also decomposed and recycled three other military ships of the British Naval Forces, including the HMS Invincible, the HMS Plymouth and the HMS Manchester, in the previous five years.
Britain will have no carrier strike capability until two new, bigger Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers come into service from 2020, according to a 2013 AFP report.