She was once the flagship of the Royal Navy - a symbol of the might of our armed forces. But today, it has been confirmed that HMS Ark Royal *will *be sold as scrap metal.
The Government described its decision as 'difficult but necessary'. Turning the aircraft carrier into tin cans and razor blades could make around £3 million - as Martin Dowse explains.
Plans to preserve the legacy of the Royal Navy’s Invincible Class aircraft carriers have been outlined by the Ministry of Defence.
Invincible, Illustrious and Ark Royal came into service in the early 1980s and have spent the last thirty years protecting the UK’s interests across the world.
The last of the ships to be decommissioned, HMS Illustrious, is due to retire in 2014 and the MoD is seeking proposals from organisations interested in preserving her as a lasting tribute.
The 31 year old HMS Ark Royal was withdrawn from service last year, following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The MoD can announce today that she will also be recycled as part of a £2.9 million deal with Leyal, the same company responsible for recycling Invincible in 2011.
Work will be carried out over the winter to enable her to travel from Portsmouth to Turkey, where she will be recycled.
Philip Dunne, of the MOD, said: “HMS Ark Royal, like her sister ships, served this country with great distinction. Retiring her five years earlier than planned was a difficult decision but it was the right one that, combined with her sale, has saved over £100 million."
Former Navy flagship HMS Ark Royal will be sold on as scrap metal for £3 million as part of a move that the Ministry of Defence has described as "difficult but necessary".
An announcement in Parliament today is expected to reveal the details of the deal after the vessel was decommissioned in 2010 five years ahead of its expected sell-by date.
The decision comes following a bidding process which included proposals to turn the 22,000-ton ship into a helipad on the Thames, a museum, a hotel, a casino or a diving wreck off the South coast.
Last year HMS Invincible was also sold to a Turkish scrap metal firm as part of the MoD's drive to get its finances in order.
It's been reported that an announcement is expected in Parliament tomorrow revealing that the former Navy flagship, HMS Ark Royal will be sold as scrap metal for £3million.
The ship was decommissioned in 2010, five years ahead of schedule and has been in Portsmouth harbour ever since.
The light aircraft carrier led the British fleet during the Iraq invasion after leading the fleet in the Adriatic during the Bosnian War.