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Illustrious salutes Royal Navy centenary

PUBLISHED: 18:37 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:36 25 August 2010

FAMOUS: HMS Illustrious.

FAMOUS: HMS Illustrious.

HMS Illustrious is to visit London to mark the Centenary Year of Naval Aviation next week.

HMS Illustrious is to visit London to mark the Centenary Year of Naval Aviation next week.

On May 7 1909 the Admiralty first set aside £35,000 for the development of an airship - the process that lead to the formation of the Fleet Air Arm.

A Port of London Authority (PLA) spokesperson said: "Those 100 years have seen a breathtaking development from flimsy aircraft that struggled to leave the ground to supersonic stealth fighters.

"As technology has developed, so too has ideology; Naval Aviation began the 20th century as an interesting sideshow in the armament of the Royal Navy, and ended it as the centrepiece."

Fly Navy 100 is a programme of events and publications that aims to celebrate and commemorate this remarkable centenary. It aims to showcase among both the public and the Service communities the endurance, flexibility, and above all potency, of Naval Aviation.

Aircraft were first launched from a ship in 1912 and in 1918 the first true aircraft carrier was commissioned. Now, the aircraft carrier marks out the premier league navies from the rest. It is the punch of the nation and a symbol of its power.

Countless modern-day Prime Ministers have found that the carrier has been indispensable to the execution of their foreign policy in the Falkland Islands, Bosnia, Sierra Leone or Iraq.

HMS Illustrious, one of the Royals Navy's Invincible Class aircraft carriers, will visit London in May to add its considerable presence to Fly Navy 100 celebrations in the capital.

Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College will make a stunning backdrop, the ship will be available for visits from organised groups, providing a truly special opportunity to explore one of the most powerful instruments in the UK's armed forces.

michael.adkins@adkins@archant.co.uk

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