HMS Illustrious has left Portsmouth as she heads to Gibraltar for a routine visit after increased tensions with Spain over border checks.
The ships will be taking part in what defence officials have said is a long-scheduled deployment codenamed Cougar '13 in the Mediterranean and the Gulf.
The vessels set sail from Portsmouth as a diplomatic spat continued between the UK and Spain, triggered by the creation of an artificial reef by the Gibraltarian authorities which the Spanish claim will destroy fishing in the area.
More top news
A woman was stabbed to death by a man to stop her accusing another man of indecent assault, a court has heard.
Tuesday afternoon's forecast for the east of the region
Tuesday afternoon's forecast for the west of the region