To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans the Government has to preserve HMS Illustrious when she is withdrawn from service in December 2014; and if he will make a statement.
7 August 2014
HMS Illustrious, the last of three Invincible class aircraft carriers, will retire from the Royal Navy on 1 August 2014. As I informed the House on 10 September 2012 (Official Report ,column 1WS), in recognition of the service given by these ships in protecting the UK over the last 30 years, it is our preference to see HMS Illustrious preserved intact as a lasting tribute to the Service personnel who served on all three of the carriers.
In October 2013 the Ministry of Defence’s Disposal Services Authority launched a competition to seek innovative reuse bids to retain HMS Illustrious in the UK, with part or all of it developed for heritage purposes, which could include tourism. The competition is ongoing and therefore no final decisions have been made on the ship’s future.