The UK's Ministry of Defense Is Selling an Aircraft Carrier (With a Big Caveat)

Rennett Stowe, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Rennett Stowe, Flickr // CC BY 2.0 / Rennett Stowe, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Ever wonder where old military ships go when they've been retired or replaced? While some are decommissioned and sent to the ocean floor to become artificial reefs (or used in cool bridge project proposals), others are sold—with a few stipulations. According to Popular Mechanics, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense is selling a Royal Navy aircraft carrier that's been in service for 32 years. The buyer won't be sailing the high seas or engaging in war reenactments though; the HMS Illustrious is to be sold for "recycling only" [PDF].

Interested parties have until May 23 to file with the government to qualify to buy the 686-foot-long carrier. To ensure that you can actually seal the deal, the Disposal Services Authority will require a bank guarantee of £2 million (roughly $2.9 million) which will "not be released until the recycling of the vessel is nearing completion."

Before applying, interested buyers should know that the ship is a shell of its former self. The Ministry lists the condition as a "non-operational hulk in sound condition" and most of the batteries, sensors, soft furnishings, and other parts have been removed. The ship was decommissioned in 2014, which means that interested buyers also won't find weaponry or other military equipment on board. The flyer does not specify how the aircraft carrier has to be recycled, so it may be up to the buyer's own creativity.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]