March 31 (UPI) -- A Dutch frigate will join the UK Carrier Strike Group for its initial deployment in May, the British Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
Led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the strike group will travel from the North Atlantic Ocean, to the Mediterranean Sea and through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean and then the Indo-Pacific region.
The frigate HNLMS Evertsen of the Royal Netherlands Navy will join it for the duration of the deployment, which will include operations and training with NATO allies and partner nations, the ministry said Wednesday in a press release.
It was confirmed in February that the carrier strike group will train with Japanese ships and aircraft.
Both countries, as well as the United States, fly F-35 fighter planes, and in 2019 the three countries entered into a trilateral defense cooperation agreement, with the intent of stopping Chinese and North Korean aggression.
Under current plans, the deployment of about five to six months will involve the flagship aircraft carrier, the submarine HMS Diamond, destroyer HMS Defender, cruiser HMS Kent and frigate HMS Richmond, in addition to several support vessels and the Dutch ship.
Aircraft aboard is expected to include eight British and six U.S. F-35s, in addition to other planes and helicopters.
While Britain has had aircraft carriers and escort ships in the past, the planned deployment is the first as a formalized carrier strike group, and thus is regarded as a landmark.