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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 14:55 GMT
HMS Illustrious back after refit
HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious takes on the role of the Royal Navy flagship in June
The aircraft carrier set to become the flagship of the Royal Navy fleet has returned to Portsmouth after completing a 120m refit.

HMS Illustrious has been upgraded with a third mast for enhanced communications equipment and had its flight deck strengthened.

The two-year revamp is designed to extend the working life of the 20,000-tonne ship by up to 10 years.

The carrier was welcomed to its Hampshire base by a flypast.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "This new flexibility, combined with her ability to operate as a command and control platform, will ensure that the Royal Navy can continue to project power in support of UK policy until she is replaced by the much larger HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2012."

Work has also been carried out to modernise the living areas for the ship's company, including an internet suite and a dedicated learning area.

After Christmas, the ship will be involved in sea training with its crew before taking on the role of the Royal Navy flagship in June.

Crew return to Royal Navy flagship
27 Jul 04 |  Scotland
In pictures: HMS Illustrious
27 Jul 04 |  In Pictures

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