The aircraft carrier is returning to the Portsmouth base for a brief logistics stop before returning to sea.

HMNB Portsmouth tweeted the following:

HMS Prince of Wales recently tested her three Phalanx guns as part of efforts to make the vessel operational.

Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system and is the Royal Navy’s primary defence for ships against the threat of anti-ship missiles.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“The Portsmouth-based warship has spent much of her first fortnight back at sea in the relatively sheltered waters of Lyme Bay conducting aviation trials with the RAF and Commando Helicopter Force.

The ship’s company has changed substantially since she last sailed in the spring of 2020 – and since her flight deck last welcomed helicopters, so it’s been a mix of brushing up on old skills and new experiences for a good number of sailors.

Those on the upper deck were treated to the impressive sight of a unique RAF Chinook, proudly sporting a Union Jack tail to celebrate its 40th anniversary in UK service, touching down. The Boeing-built helicopter entered service with the air force in November 1980 and has seen action in every major conflict involving the nation’s armed forces since.”

After the much-publicised first encounter at sea with her big sister HMS Queen Elizabeth, regular training resumed with Merlin helicopters of 824 Naval Air Squadron making use of the carrier to practise refuelling skills.

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Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

“Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system and is the Royal Navy’s primary defence for ships against the threat of anti-ship missiles”….
ok, I’ll be the first one to bite.. 🙂
No it isn’t….

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

It isn’t; the Phalus CIWS not the primary defence? I wouldn’t be so “Cock Sure” about that!

Last edited 1 month ago by Herodotus
Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Well, I’m looking forward to a spirited debate on escorts, soft kill, Sea Ceptor and Sea Ram etc. For the most part I do buy into the RN layered screening doctrine. But is there an issue when there is not the sea room to construct the layered screen?

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I’m sure that a layered screen is advisable, especially if it is wafer thin and sensitol lubricated! 🙄

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Multiple layers H, multiple layers 😉

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Funny you should mention Phalanx, i read this on the Drive last night: China Is Testing A Beastly 20-Barrel Naval Gatling Gun (Updated) Pictures have emerged online that indicate testing of a new and absolutely fearsome-looking naval point air and missile defence system has been going on in China since January. The available images show that this weapon system notably features a Gatling-style rotary cannon with a whopping 20 barrels, nearly twice as many the largest close-in weapon system, or CIWS, now in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN.   The pictures, which first emerged on Chinese micro-blogging site… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

Interesting. Thx. This would validate the Gatling design philosophy. I would value some kind of overview of CIWS ..pros and cons etc. Bit like a piece of string though I guess since some weapons are multi function.

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

And the point of this is what?

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

The point is that now 2 nations that have mastered hypersonic weapons are now going for massive rate of fire CIWS.

The point is the Phalanx is no defense at all against China or Russia.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

Mastered hypersonic is bit rich, I’ve seen very little proof from Russia, could just be properganda like hordes of armata tanks and new carriers

Peter Edwards
Peter Edwards
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

I agree! But then don’t be to hasty, remember Mother Russia’s The last invasion Boss made same mistake taking Moscow to be easy, And as the German Generals stood in the snow, jaws dropped! Masses of Russian Armour over night, that forgot Eastern Industrial might! The saying expect the unexpected is most definitely adhere too! Belarus Dictator, never planned the hijack!
Hence no winners until the Fat Lady Sings.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

The point is a design concept, the realty is it would never be able to fire continuously for a minute, therefore dispersal pattern of the rounds is more important than how many rounds you can put down range.

Peter Edwards
Peter Edwards
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

Ok! They must remember to sybmit chatty for extra ammo, stores are going to deplete very very quickly, then what do they rearm with…. OF COURSE ? CHOP STICKS. NO SUPERGLUE HERE ?

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Edwards

Well I am sure the PLAN know what they are doing better than you. If the start arming their vessels with guns that can fire 20k rounds a minute we can be fairly sure they have considered the implications.

Don’t underestimate them.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

Hi farouk, Interesting to note that the picture on the left of the three at the top of that article shows that both the top and bottom barrels are firing at the same time. So there is a x2 on the rate of fire compared to phalanx right there. If it rotates at the same rpm as the Phalanx then there is another better than x3 increase because of the number of barrels. So potentially better than x6 rate of fire. Obviously, some big assumptions underpining those back of a postage stamp sums, but they give an idea of the… Read more »

Nic
Nic
1 month ago

When does the carrier become operationally deploy able

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

Hi Nic, From the ships perspective when the crew is fully worked up to operate, maintain and fight the ship. Then of course there is the need to equip and train another air wing if you want two fully deployable operational carriers. However, the primary aim from the start has always been to maintain one fully operational carrier strike group. Recently, the talk has been to use the PoW in secondary roles such as training and trials for the RN’s autonomous vehicles that it is trying to fast track into service. When the QE goes in for her first refit,… Read more »

Nic
Nic
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thank you for the reply

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Nic

She would be further along that road had she not lost c6months repairing flooding problems. That stopped her going to the U.S.East coast to qualify for F35 ops. Once the crew is worked up again after being stuck alongside for months she should soon be heaading off to the U.S. for that, If I’ve got it right. Once that’s acheived she should be able to do most what she’s designed for.

Nic
Nic
1 month ago

I wonder if they have trialled all the uk forces helicopters including Apache

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago

There seems to be some misunderstanding on how Phalanx works. It doesn’t track the target and then randomly chuck bullets out in the vainglorious hope of hitting something. It tracks identifies the target,carries out Threat Evaluation and Weapon Assignment (TEWA)to determine the best point in time to fire if at all (The target may be crossing so why shoot at it ?), tracks the target, fires, tracks the bullets in flight , works out the difference in space between the bullets and the target and drives the mount in training and elevation to reduce the difference to zero. On reaching… Read more »

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Assuming the target is not maneuvering or indeed tracking the bullets itself. The time of flight of the rounds give the target time to move out of the way.

So now we need maneuvering rounds to strike maneuvering missiles.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

It’s a very tight closed loop tracking system. It constantly measures the bullets positions in space, simultaneously measures the targets position in space and drives the mount to reduce the difference between the two to zero.

Manouvering makes no difference.
If the target moves the mount adjusts its point of aim accordingly.
It doesn’t fire a burst do the measuring and calculations then fire again… It measures and adjusts constantly bullet by bullet milli second by milli second.

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Indeed, but once the round is in the air, it’s trajectory is fixed, giving the target a window to avoid it.

As you can see from this night time video the time of flight is significant, giving plenty of opportunity for evasive maneuvers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J087UXUt6BM

And of course, Phalanx can only engage a single target at a time, a paltry force of hypersonic cruise missiles would instantly overwhelm them.

Not to mention their utter uselessness against maneuvering ballistic missiles which presumably would be arriving at the same time.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

The time of flight is not that long. I know of no missile past or present that senses incoming phalanx rounds or any other rounds and avoids them. If it did somehow detect and then maneuver to avoid them it would need to do a high G pop up or a left /right shift. If it does that at supersonic speeds it would miss the target. Harpoon does a pop up but its very sub sonic and so is still hittable which is why the RN went for it stepping down in attack height to get as low as possible… Read more »

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

A missile can know where the rounds are by a simple calculation based on when the Phalanx fires, its own trajectory at that time, and the speed the round travels at.