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HMS Illustrious R06

4 May 1993

No details available.

16 February 1996

No details available.

18 August 1997

BAe Sea Harrier F/A 2 ZD579/005/L, ZD610/000/L, ZD611/100, ZD613/002/L, ZE692/003/L, ZH810/004/L, ZH812/006/L 801  
Sea King AEW 2 XV649/184/L, XV650/185/L, ZE420/183/L 849 “B(ee)” flight.
Sea King HAS.6 XV674/015**, XV706/011/L, XZ571/016, ZA128/010**, ZA133/013 814 ** Operated several flights to Luqa using call-sign Navy 17118.

10 April 2000

No details available.

01 September 2001

No details available.

21-26 November 2005

Entered Grand Harbour, accompanied by HMS Exeter, in ceremonial support of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. HMS Illustrious revived a naval tradition of firing a 21-gun salute, thereby signalling the ships’ peaceful intentions by entering host country’s port with unloaded guns. The salute was returned from shore by a group of Maltese re-enactors. Despite the tight security, Illustrious was open to visitors on the 23rd for a visit by the Malta Aviation Society, and on the 25th to the general public.

The following are some of the aircraft on board the Illustrious visit. It is not necessarily a complete list.

BAe Sea Harrier F/A 2 XZ440/002, ZE690/003, ZH796/001 ZH813/006    
Sea King ASaC7 XV714, ZE418/186    
A/W Merlin HM.1 ZH863/270    


26-29 February, 2008

Illustrious’s visit coincided with the conclusion of a twinning agreement between the ship and the Three Cities, which formalised the close bond shared for over 60 years, ever since the wartime Illustrious entered Grand Harbour in 1941 for repairs, resulting in massive bombing attacks by the German Luftwaffe. These attacks, a taste of things to come for the next two years, practically levelled the Three Cities (Bormla, Birgu, Isla - also known as Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea respectively).

The ship’s Commanding Officer at the time, Captain Steve Chick said in an interview with the media ”The twinning ceremony itself is a first; no other Royal Navy ship has ever twinned with a town or city outside the UK.”

Illustrious, which fired a three-gun salute in honour of the Three Cities, was not to open to visitors, although invitations to certain specialised groups, such as Engineering Students, Officer Cadets and Sea Cadets, were sent out.

After sailing from Malta, the carrier continued with her ORION 08 deployment. This operation was a multi-national maritime Task Group centred on the Royal Navy strike aircraft carrier. Deployed from the UK to the Indian Ocean, the task group consisted of more than 2,500 personnel, 13 ships, a nuclear powered submarine, Harrier aircraft, as well as Merlin and Lynx helicopters. The French, Spanish and US Navies all contributed ships and aircraft to the group, which was under the Operational Control of the Royal Navy.

No aircraft details available.


19-23 November 2012

HMS Illustrious was part of a deployment known as Cougar 12, involving some 3,000 Royal Navy and Commando personnel and air power making up the Response Force Task Group.

Departing the south-west of the UK in the beginning of October, joining forces with French and Albanian naval forces in the Mediterranean later in the same month.

The ship was open to the public between the 21-22.

W. Apache AH.1 ZJ233 656 AAC  
W. Apache AH.1 ZJ191, ZJ218 673 AAC  
W. Merlin HM.1 ZH827 814  
W. Merlin HM.1 ZH840/67 814 Made two flights from/to Illustrious, probably ferrying Maltese media, c/s Tiger 1. Later overflew ship as carrier was entering Grand Harbour, engaged in air-surface photography.
W. Merlin HM.1 ZH860/68 814 Tiger colour scheme.
Sea King HC.4 ZA310/B, ZE427/K, ZG820/I 845  
Sea King HC.4 ZD626/S 845 Previously mistakenly listed as ZD636, which is an ASaC7 variant of the Sea King, not an HC.4. Squadron previously listed as 849.

Albion Argus Ark Royal R09 Ark Royal R07 Bulwark Centaur Eagle Fearless Fencer Glory Hermes Illustrious R87 Illustrious R06 Indomitable Invincible Ocean R68 Ocean L12 Pursuer Theseus Triumph Unicorn Vengeance Victorous Warrior Misc.
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