The UK Royal Navy’s Daring-class Type 45 destroyer, the HMS Defender, is set to provide air defence cover support for French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The 38,000t, nuclear-powered French aircraft carrier group, which includes frigates, a submarine, and a fleet auxiliary supply ship, will be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to support coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.
The deployment holds significance following the recent Paris attacks, which killed more than 120 people and injured over 350.
With 26 fighter jets on board, the flagship of the French Navy conducted a two-month operation in the Gulf in February this year.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "France is firmly resolved in its determination to tackle ISIL and we need to help too.
"This barbaric terrorist organisation must be destroyed, and it’s right that we offer all the support we can to confront them.
"We will continue our own advanced surveillance and strike missions against ISIL. They are a threat to our security in the UK, as well as to France and the rest of Europe.
"We will consider any further requests for support from France under Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty following Friday’s Paris terror attacks."
The HMS Defender, which completed a nine-month deployment in October, is capable of carrying out operations such as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling activities, disaster relief work, and surveillance operations, as well as high-intensity warfare.
Commissioned on 21 March 2013, HMS Defender is the fifth in class of the UK navy’s type 45 destroyers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also reportedly ordered the Russian Navy’s guided missile cruiser, Moskva, to provide support for the carrier group.
Image: HMS Defender. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.