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Posted on Monday 10th September

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that HMS Ark Royal, the former Navy flagship, will be sold on as scrap in a move which is described as 'difficult but necessary'.

The Swan Hunter-built vessel was decommissioned in 2010 - 5 years ahead of its expected sell-by date - and is expected to raise £3m as scrap metal. The decision to retire her 5 years early is part of the drive to address the Defence deficit, and the aircraft carrier has been awaiting its fate in Portsmouth harbour for the past 18 months.

There were hopes that an alternative use for Ark Royal would be found, and during the bidding process prior to this final decision, other proposed ideas included turning the 22,000-ton ship into a Thames-based helipad, a hotel and a casino.

Ark Royal's sister ship HMS Invincible was also sold as scrap last year, however HMS Illustrious is expected to be preserved after completing active service in 2014.

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