A Dutch warship will join Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden operational deployment later this year, it has been confirmed.
Defence ministers confirmed the plans, first announced in 2018, on Wednesday.
It will see Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen join HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group for the duration of the inaugural deployment.
The group will travel from the North Atlantic, through to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and on to the Indo-Pacific.
During the trip, the Carrier Strike Group will undertake a range of operations and training with allies and partners.
The frigate will provide vital air defence protection to the carrier and control air missions from her operations room.
She joins a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35 jets and a US Navy destroyer that are also supporting the deployment.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace welcomed the nation's participation.
He said: "This joint deployment will offer a unique opportunity for our forces to integrate and operate together in support of truly shared global defence and security challenges."
Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, Dutch Minister of Defence, said it is a "unique opportunity" for the Royal Netherlands Navy.
She said: "The UK is a strategic partner and important NATO ally of the Netherlands, also post-Brexit. Participation in the Carrier Strike Group enables the Royal Netherlands Navy to provide a valuable contribution to the NATO alliance in the near future.
"The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have worked together intensively for years. This new combined activity underlines our close ties."
The Netherlands also played a role in the build-up to the deployment through participation in a series of multi-national exercises throughout 2020, most recently Exercise Strike Warrior last year.
Cover image: HMS Queen Elizabeth last month arriving at the new £64m Northern Ammunition Jetty in Scotland for final preparations ahead of her first operational deployment (Picture: Royal Navy).