Ark Royal Goes Up on MoD Auction Site

The aircraft carrier H.M.S. Ark Royal, taken out of service this year as part of government budget cuts, is being put up for sale online by the Ministry of Defense.

David Cameron
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David Cameron

The Royal Navy carrier, which was decommissioned in Portsmouth earlier this month, is being sold on, a website run by the MoD’s Defense Equipment and Support arm.

The MoD said on Monday night that individuals and organizations interested in purchasing the navy’s former flagship, which was launched by the Queen in 1981, have to submit their proposals for the ship to the MoD for approval.

“We need to be assured of the viability of the person or organization... including how they intend to store, maintain and dispose of the ship before the sale can be agreed,” DE&S spokesman Tim Foreman told Reuters news agency.

Proposals for the aircraft carrier, which traveled 621,551 nautical miles over the course of its career, include mooring it in London for use as a helipad.

Interested parties have until June 13 to submit their bids and the ship will be handed over to its new owner by the end of the year.

David Cameron’s government announced in October that Ark Royal would be taken out of service as part of the strategic Defense and security review(SDSR).

Its decommissioning will mean the UK will be without an operational carrier until about 2020.

Ark Royal played a crucial role in the Nato campaign during the conflict in Bosnia and was also involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

It was the fifth British ship to carry the name Ark Royal. The first was built for Sir Walter Raleigh and became the flagship of the English fleet, seeing action during the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588.

“The MoD considers all options when disposing of military equipment to ensure the best financial return for the taxpayer,” the Defense ministry said in a statement. “Difficult decisions had to be made during the SDSR due to the severe financial constraints facing the department. H.M.S. Ark Royal has a proud history in the naval fleet and was due to leave service in three years’ time.”

The MoD added: “Bringing forward her decommissioning ensures we will have an enhanced carrier strike capability in the future.

"Until then, the UK continues to have access to a range of international bases which allow us to project our air power around the world.”