Warships past and present
The current HMS Illustrious was laid down on the 7th October 1976 at the Swan Hunters Ship Builders Yard on the Tyne. She participated in most major UK and NATO campaigns over the last 15 years; including the First Gulf War, the Sierra Leon Evacuations and the war in Afghanistan in 2001. After this period of hectic activity, in October 2002, HMS Illustrious undertook a 104 week refit in Rosyth Dockyard, Scotland at a total cost of £118 million. The ship is due to remain in service until 2016, when she will be replaced by the aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth II and Prince of Wales.