The UK Royal Navy has deployed the HMS Cumberland to support troops fighting in Afghanistan during the festive period, as part of a new agreement between the UK and France.

HMS Cumberland will provide support to French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, which is providing air-support to combat troops.

The Plymouth-based frigate is currently on maritime security patrols in the Arabian Gulf and will act in support of the Nato-led operation in Afghanistan.

The 148.1m-long vessel has a displacement capacity of 5,300t and can cruise at a speed of 30kt.

It is armed with a 114mm MK8 close-range gun, the Sea Wolf anti-missile system and Harpoon missile launchers.

The warship is the Royal Navy’s last Type 22 frigate, and will be decommissioned next year as part of UK government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review cutbacks to naval forces.