HMS Illustrious drops anchor for the weekend
THE aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious has been off Tor Bay over the weekend.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier has been moored just off the bay since yesterday morning.
She is the second of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known as "Lusty" to her crew.
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The vessel just missed the Falklands Conflict, but was deployed to Iraq and Bosnia in the 1990s and to Sierra Leone in 2000.
An extensive re-fit in 2002 meant that she missed the Iraq War, but she was finished in time to assist British citizens trapped by the 2006 Lebanon War.
Following the retirement of her fixed-wing Harrier II aircraft in 2010, Illustrious now operates as one of two Royal Navy helicopter carriers.
She is the oldest ship in the active fleet and it is envisaged that she will be withdrawn from service in 2014 (after 32 years service) and will not be replaced until HMS Queen Elizabeth is commissioned in 2016.