One of the Royal Navy's most advanced warships, HMS Defender, has set sail on its maiden deployment.

The Type 45 destroyer left from its base at Portsmouth to carry out security operations in the Middle East.

The fifth of the navy's six new £1 billion sister ships will police busy shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean conducting maritime security and counter piracy operations. Later it will head to the Arabian Gulf for security patrols there.

Defender was built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, and was commissioned into the fleet in March 2013.

Since then the ship and its 200 sailors have undergone intensive sea trials off the UK.

Commanding officer, Commander Phil Nash, said: ''I am immensely proud of my ship's company and all they have achieved to prepare HMS Defender for this first deployment. Having been through intense training we are ready for a challenging deployment as part of the Royal Navy's standing commitment in the Middle East. We will provide reassurance to the UK's allies in the region, whilst conducting maritime security and counter-piracy patrols.

''I would like to pay tribute to our families who provide the support that allows us to achieve such milestones as this. We leave our families, friends and loved ones behind with some sadness, but we deploy with confidence in Defender's ability to meet any operational tasking.''

HMS Defender is primarily designed for air defence but is able to conduct a multitude of tasks such as air surveillance, anti-submarine operations, counter-piracy, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions.