HMS Illustrious is to be sold for scrap after schemes to preserve her for the nation have now been abandoned.

Scrap dealers are being asked to bid to “recycle” the retired HMS Illustrious. The announcement is expected to end hopes the carrier can be saved. It is understood that three cities submitted proposals to try to preserve the vessel but each fell through.

Following the retirement of her Harriers in 2010, Illustrious operated as one of two Royal Navy helicopter carriers. By 2014 she was the oldest ship in the Royal Navy’s active fleet, having 32 years’ service, and will not be replaced until HMS Queen Elizabeth is in service. It was originally announced that Illustrious would be preserved for the nation, this now seems unlikely.

An MoD spokeswoman said:

“We have done all we can for over two years to find a home for the former HMS Illustrious in the UK, and regrettably no suitable bidder has come forward. While it is a difficult decision, we have announced an open competition for the recycling of HMS Illustrious, while remaining open to heritage options.”

The notice, which can be found here, states:

“The Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is inviting expressions of interest for the sale of the former HMS Illustrious for recycling. She was decommissioned in 2014.”

While this is a shame, it’s understandable as most believe the money required to run the vessel as a museum while maintaining her is simply not there.

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Mark Campbell

Should be turned into a floating museum like USS Intrepid in New York!! With a history like hers it’s a disgrace if they scrap her!!

Adam Williams

The government did say she would be kept but money talks.

Gerry Moar

The cost of upkeep would be astronomical.

Bob Stirling

Really? How much are we looking at if she is just kept at berth? Genuinely wondering.

Chris Power

Part the problem is she’s the “least historic” of the 3 …she wasnt in the Falklands and she’s not called Ark Royal. Sad day.

Pete Herbert

Better spend the money on new kit

John Atkinson

Built on the Tyne along with Ark Royal. I was at the launch of Ark Royal and it was an amazing sight to see.

Jason Ruddick

The Government did put it out to tender but not enough interest , unfortunately it was inevitable as it costs the tax payer a lot of money for her to stand idle and money is in short supply

Niru Ansonī Benetto


Darryl Abbs

Sink Ex

Harry Gillespie

Good job we’ve got the 2 Queen Elizabeth’s on the way!

Bill Fowler


Stephen Willmer

You know the scrap yard is going to be like; give you 40 quid.

Terry Busby

Such a pity , it would have sat nicely on the River Humber .

William John Jardim

Unfortunate news but that’s reality. The costs of a museum ship are immense and unfortunately not viable for a ship her size without significant financial backing.

Richard Simcox

Why not park it in the Thames like HMS Belfast and turn it into s tourist attraction?

Charles Verrier

I’m guessing that the costs of prepping her for long term static display (draining down tanks, making everything safe, etc) are catastrophically uneconomic.


It is a bit of a pity she couldn’t be preserved, but the truth is in recent years quite a lot of money has gone into saving and restoring a variety of classic RN vessels and we can never retain every ship that ever served.

Dunc Cushenan

Daniel lets buy her

Daniel Mooney

The Dominion of Greater Westmidlands needs a navy and she will do

Dunc Cushenan

Or we could just buy some Gerald Fords, they might be better for us

Daniel Mooney

Nope we’re only buying from Commonwealth Realms

Martin Walker

It’s sad, but if the Ark Royal couldn’t get bought before being scrapped, this won’t either… End of an era… 🙁

Alex Williams

The former HMS Hermes may be available soon- arguably a ship with a more significant pedigree

Ian Ic Cordell

couple of footballers should show some patriotism and pay for her

Lee Buckingham


Mark Jean Luc Deer

It works better than the new high tech destroyers they should keep her they may need her especially if there is a threat to UK and we have nothing to respond witg

Ian Stone Brown

Why Am I not Suprised

Richard Christian

Hate to see things like this happen, surely a millionaire somewhere could buy this, not even another nation to carry on using it!

Graeme Fergus

David ‘Digger’ Evans you could put it in your garden in France and tell all your Navy dits to your poor guests

David 'Digger' Evans

Hold that new swimming pool – you’re onto a winner there “Now here there, evening brief and sit rep…..”

Geordie Robinson

You’d still need a decent Controller though! You could always ask the RAF for help! Lol

David 'Digger' Evans

I can do that in a cross-dressing fashion ?

Hamish Frazer

David ‘Digger’ Evans, as her former SWO, I’d need to attend to ensure everything is conducted safely, and with style and panache

Gonzalo Delfinado

We buy

Patrick Fern

Stupid and that sucks. It should be a museum


Illustrious i am not so bothered about, but they should have done something with Invincible. The falkland war is likely to be the last ever war of the british empire/overseas territories and the carriers played such a pivotal role in it. There is no question in my mind that Invincible or Hermes (a bit late i know) should have been saved for the nation as a reminder of our history.

Dominic Tolson

James Alner You were asking about this yesterday

James Alner


I wouldn’t be averse to scrapping Illustrious if it were to be done in the UK where her steel can be recycled into future warships and the breakers yard properly managed with British workers benefitting from it rather than some unregulated, unsafe and poorly operated yard in an underdeveloped country where the health and safety, pay and conditions of workers are ignored for profit.

jon livesey

The last time we tried to scrap ships in the UK, Greenpeace shut it down and they ended up in Pakistan..

Tim Nichols

Better get a wriggle on Phil Gautby! ?

Phil Gautby

Agreed mate. Will do

Robert Hazlett

How much is she worth?

Philippe Esseiva

Triste. C’était avec ses deux bateaux frères l’invincible et l’Ark Royal de très belles unités

Philip Keary

Sam Kenwright you should buy this !

Thomas Lawler

Quite frankly why the MOD persisted in attempting to find a suitable buyer is beyond me. It was never going to happen. How much has this cost persisting with this flawed mentality?

Marck Carbonell

You are going to scrap this Ship? It is a hero of the Falklands!


It’s not, it arrived at the Falklands after the war was over, as it was still being built when the war broke out.

However, its the closest thing we have to one.

Jason Rushton

That was her sister ship, Invincible

Marck Carbonell

Sell it to South Korea and make some money.

Anthony James Day

Disappointed it’s a disgrace!!

Daniel Stokes

Would have made a quite world class diving attraction sunk in the right location…..

Leon Fisher

Another broken promise

Jason Rushton

Totally disgusted with the MOD & this Tory government .

Kenneth Callcutt


Alan Hawkins

It’s a disgrace , should be able to die ,with some dignity. Crying shame.

Brian Mooney

Not a sight for me to see the last of her class sail on old girl

Carl Lama

I thought lusty was already sold and scraped

Victor Sheppard

Fucking make money out of the sale scrap is worth a lot. Depends what we sale with it

Pip, bang goes the idea of replacing Brizzle with a flight-deck capable accommodation option!

Neil Mcsharry

What a piss take ??

Patrick Lundström

Yeah, fuck schools and NHS and such crap! Brexit shook loose a few hundred million Sterrrrling so baby carrier museum it is! 😛

Alan Lynn

Stop that foreign aid once and for all.will give the nation a bonus

jon livesey

It’s the same old story. People have plenty of mouth, but they can’t quite find their money.

Andy Tyler

Even if it ends up as some kind of hotel in Dubai it’s better than frankly and illustrious vessel being scraped!

Jason Mcquade

A nice spot on the Thames as a floating museum would be better.

Jason Simpkins

Surely she still has a use?

Chris Weir

Jake Hacker you’re gonna need a bigger van lol!!! ?

Jake Hacker

Hahahaha serious amount of aspestos in Those ships I think lpl