Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has used a Phalanx gun to ‘shoot down’ an aerial target as part of a training exercise.

The Phalanx Close-In Weapons System is designed for use as an anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence.

The system is radar-controlled and is said to provide a ‘last chance’ defence for ships against anti-ship missiles and aircraft.

The following excellent graphic from navylookout.com, I recommend you follow @NavyLookout on Twitter if you don’t already, shows the coverage arc for the three systems fitted to the carrier.

Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers - News and Discussion - Page 321 -  UK Defence Forum
Image via savetheroyalnavy.org

Phalanx automatically detects, tracks and engages threats. It features a 20mm M-61A1 cannon, search and track radar and Forward Looking InfraRed sensors on the Block 1B model.

To date, the United States Navy and 20 other nations have purchased more than 850 Phalanx systems.

What’s next for HMS Queen Elizabeth?

The Ministry of Defence say that HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Carrier Strike Group’s capabilities will be on show during Exercise ‘Strike Warrior’, which will take place off the coast of Scotland in May.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (and 15 F-35B jets) sailing with HMS Defender, HMS Diamond, HMS Northumberland, HMS Kent, RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tideforce in addition to the USS The Sullivans and Dutch vessel HNLMS Evertsen.

The UK-led war-fighting exercise, including several other NATO navies, will be the final test for the Carrier Strike Group before it undertakes its maiden deployment.

The Ministry of Defence say that the deployment is expected to include two Type 45 Destroyers, two Type 23 Frigates, two Royal Fleet Auxiliary logistics vessels and a submarine in addition to an American destroyer and potentially other allied vessels.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said:

“The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy. Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances. Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”

After the work-up trial off the west Hebrides range, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will head to the Pacific.

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RobW
RobW
8 months ago

This article will be like moths to a flame!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Maybe he IS doing it deliberately!

Andy G
Andy G
8 months ago

impartial.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
8 months ago

Wasn’t HMS Queen Elizabeth meant to have received her 30mm mounts by now?

Paul42
Paul42
8 months ago

In theory, yes. Perhaps next article will be about test firing those…..

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
8 months ago

Will they be fitted out with Martlet?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Apparently not. There was an article recently on Navy Lookout that indicates that the RN was not going to take it forward. No indication why, sadly…

Cheers CR

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
8 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Design it, sell it, or can it seems to be the order of the day sadly.

Liam
Liam
8 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Perhaps the problem with Martlet is that it needs laze from the gun mount thereby restricting its movement?

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  Liam

That’s what I read as well. Can’t remember which article it was unfortunately but the Navy apparently felt that the Martlet coaxial mounts didn’t really increase the firepower of the 30 mm that much for the reason you stated. It’s not a fire-and-forget system but needs a continuous illumination of the target until impact thus restricting the movement of the gun whilst engaging. If they (i.e. the missiles and the laser emitter) were mounted separately from the gun however….

… or we invested in some Martlet armed S-100 UAVs to augment our Wildcats however (assuming they survive the Integrated Review).

Liam
Liam
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Thanks for that.

Andrew
8 months ago

Lets hope it’s never going to be use for real ,but happy it works

Rob
Rob
8 months ago

Good to see but I don’t see why advertising the arcs of fire is beneficial?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Sadly SVRN -> NL publicised those ages ago so nothing secret there……

I’m pretty sure Vlad & Xi’s gangs can surf so no secrets to protect.

Let’s hope the next articles is about 30mm…..

And the one after about a new unknown all defeating……sorry came to my senses there….and saw an image of Max Hastings with a 25mm steel plate welded to his head standing in the drink with a Harrier landing on top of it…..he does have a big head…..I’m sure he liberated Stanley all by himself armed with a biro…..

TrevorH
TrevorH
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The ship does not stay still.

David
David
8 months ago

Not enough cannons

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
8 months ago

It’s going to be a very interesting decade in the indo-pacific that’s for sure.

“The US Army is moving forward with plans to gain a better footing in Asia, in part, by building out a multi-domain task force (MDTF) outfitted with land-based, deep strike capabilities. Past service leaders had floated the idea that the uninhabited, Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyu Islands, would be a prime spot for some of these soldiers and weapons, but Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said more diplomatic work is needed before a decision is finalised.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-army-awaiting-diplomatic-stationing-decision-for-indo-pacific-mdtf

Andy G
Andy G
8 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

US army will say and do anything to avoid massive budget cuts right now, I have noticed many of these pieces over the last few days.

John Hampson
John Hampson
8 months ago

I am not going to repost the simple maths I used to when I questioned the performance of the Phalanx. Can’t be bothered with inviting the condescending comments to be repeated. But maybe it is worth considering what Navy Lookout said. Quote, “Gun-based CWIS has its limitations when faced with the increasing speeds of modern missiles such as BrahMos, Sunburn or Zircon….Assuming the CIWS manages to break up the missile somewhere under 1km before impact, then the ship may still be sprayed with high-velocity fragments. This is obviously preferable to the intact missile impacting and detonating deep inside the ship… Read more »

John Hampson
John Hampson
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hampson

Just noticed the Canadian Type 26 has also dropped the Phalanx, as the RN’s type 31’s also have.

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hampson

How come ?

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Thanks may took a look.Some kit .

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Sorry meant mate ,eyes going

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 months ago
Reply to  farouk

isn’t Tomahawk production finished?

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Their Version of the T26 will use Sea Ceptor for Point Defence,ESSM for Medium Range and Standard For Long Range – thats Quite a Mix.

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Hate to say it Guys but it’s looking like RN Type 26 is the poor version compared to OZ and Canada, hope I’m wrong .

Ron
Ron
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

If the Canadians get the 15 ships that they plan for in the configuration mentioned it they will have a good surface fleet. Hope that the RN, Aus and Canadians can form Carrier and LHD/LPD strike groups.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

The Canadian vessels are replacing 2 classes of vessel . They are also using them in the Air defence role which the RN is not

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

20mm just doesn’t have the range or hitting power as John has comprehensively pointed out in the past when considering the latest hypersonic missiles.

Cheers CR

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hampson

“To date, the United States Navy and 20 other nations have purchased more than 850 Phalanx systems.”

This relevant part was not included into above:
But the USN new frigate changed that policy of 40 years, dropping the Phalanx resorting instead to RAM and Standard missiles.

Another of the RN well known CIWS the Goalkeeper also has their end near:

https://defbrief.com/2021/01/15/dutch-navy-replacing-goalkeeper-ciws-with-ram-missile-dart-projectile-combo/

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hampson

Unfortunately its very likely that you are going to catch shrapnel when hitting a target travelling at high speed. Except for hitting the target further out with a missile, you will always suffer the same issues when using a gun system. Shrapnel isn’t guaranteed though. Hitting a control surface or punching a hole in a Mach speed target will make it ditch or shred itself which should stop it hitting you. I was lucky(If that’s the right saying!) to be on a T22 conducting the first Seawolf V Exocet shoot in 83. The first missile proximity detonated and shredded control… Read more »

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Very interesting and knowledgeable post. I remember Seawolf was touted as a super weapon when it first came into service. They had mixed results in the Falklands conflict-what did you think of it as a weapons system?
I remember a well known incident in the Falklands when a destroyer and frigate were on picket somewhere off the Falklands and came under attack from Argie Seahawks. One ship was lost and one badly damaged. Apparently there was radar interference from one ship to the next destroying the guidance systems of bot units and leaving them basically defenceless against the attack.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

I recall that was Broadsword and Coventry?

geoff
geoff
8 months ago

Hi Daniele-thanks for jogging my memory. i remember readinga harrowing account of the incident from one of the Captains

Klonkie
Klonkie
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi Geoff This was a sad series of events. The Type 22/42 trap concept failed due to human error. Coventry cut accros Broadsword’s bow, breaking seawolf radar lock. I believe this was an attempt by Coventry to presents a smaller target to the incoming Skyhawk raid. The rest is history.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

It was a very good system – probably the best out there. The UK’s foreign sales of missiles were destroyed by a lot of the post Falklands myths about missile performance. Seawolf was really under development went it was sent down there. SeaDart Mod1 was also immature and not controlled with terribly good radar or computers. So unfortunately they both got a much poorer reputation than they should have. Just as Exocet got an unjustified reputation and massive export success. This hindered attempts to develop more advanced systems. What was little known and not much advertised was the enormous upgrades,… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago

I cannot think of a single system then or now that can detect, track and shoot down a 4.5 inch sized shell with a missile…. Seadart got a huge upgrade and went to a fully auto loading system. No man in the loop to move the missiles, it just kept putting them on the launcher and firing them. 909 Tracker upgrades, ADAWS, missile fuzing all had huge upgrades. Also and probably more importantly was the Damage Control lessons for Uniforms, Equipment and ship design. T23 , T45 and T26 do and will all have lessons learnt from the Falklands to… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Sorry I think we are at crossed purposes: I wasn’t suggesting that Dart should have been able to hit a 4.5″ shell?

Yes, I am well aware of the survivability and damage control upgrades. For my sins that was my work for some years.

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

As i remember that was not the case , the so – called Type 64 Combo had proved to be effective in the days before the Coventry Sinking and earlier on that fateful day.What happened on the last Raid was that the Argentinians changed Tactics,their A4’s Approached from Land (Pebble Island ) and Coventry’s Sea Dart Radar got confused with background Clutter.rendering it ineffective.Broadswords Seawolf got a Lock on the incoming Skyhawks but its Computers crashed at a critical moment, they had to be reset manually,and they again got a Lock but Coventry executed an Evasive Manouver which cut accross… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

The critical bit to add to that salient summary, is that the pulsed doppler radar on the T22 (Broadsword) was actually capable of discriminating against the clutter.

So actually the T64 combo should have been jolly good IF the T22 has stayed landslide of the T42.

It would be wrong to confuse the T42 radars of ’82 with the later systems which were much much better in every respect.

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago

Yes its a shame the Falklands Conflict became a Double Edged Sword for British Missile Systems,Vastly Improved due to the Experience Gained but Fewer Takers because of the Bad Reports.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

BUT if Coventry/Broadsword had been fitted with PHX would the bombers got thru. keep it simple. and adapt in war

Paul T
Paul T
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

There is a Picture somewhere of a Skyhawk Attacking HMS Coventry Beam On ( think thats the correct Naval Term ) – Meat and Drink to a Phalanx,but the Bombs that Sunk her went in her Portside Fwd,at an Angle,but still within a CIWS Firing Arc.The Exocet that Hit Sheffield again would be easily Dealt with had Phalanx been fitted.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

That’s why post Falklands T42 was fitted with Phalanx. That is a whole other story on the issues that caused. Huge increase in top weight, ballast down bellow to compensate and as a result the waterline was suddenly a couple of feet from the quarterdeck. Brum also developed a strange corkscrew in heavy weather that was an interesting experience…not least during the Great Storm which was “interesting” for some of the angles we went over at.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Who remembers the number of times a Sea Dart just about cleared the launcher and either dropping like a stone or going bang, keep it simple RN shooting expensive missiles @ play targets is not good for budget, they dont like PHX as its a service item, shoot it needs a service.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Dart was a technological stretch when it started out. Some of the reliability issues were down to the sheer length of development: so older technologies were used.

It is the problem sometimes to be the technological initiators as oppssed to the perfectors.

Wolf started when certain technologies were mature enough to to be properly understood.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Johan

???
Shoot anything and it needs cleaning afterward. Plus all the usual daily, weekly, monthly, 3, 6, 12 ,18, 24 Monthly maintenance. Thats what being a Tiff was all about. Maintain it, fix it when it was duff, keep it going anyway you can when its needed. The stuff and the methods used to keep kit working until we got spares was best left well away from my Boss. He knew it was working but he didn’t “need to know why it was still working” (although he did in reality and fully supported the dubious engineering solutions we used.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Seawolf was to put it technically, S**T Hot at dropping small fast missile like targets and aircraft out to around 6 miles. Seawolf VL was even better out to an even further range. On the T22 967 Radar you could see individual shells leaving a gun barrel. Trackers would lock them up and then bang fire the missile, drop the shell. There were issues with it in the Falklands but mostly software related and we proved those as fixed in the Exocet shoot off of Aberporth ranges in early 83. Hawks flying Argentinian attack profiles no longer caused issues. LLHK… Read more »

geoff
geoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks Gunbuster for as always Five Star info. In general terms was it not a bad idea to stand Coventry and Broadsword so close together?

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Brilliant subject matter knowledge and experience….i enjoy reading your dits mate.

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

How do you see the threat posed by drones and loitering munitions? These seem like vertical dive bombs. Would the answer be missile or AA guns?

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

ECM Swarming Drones need a signal from the controller, and currently are too small to do mission-critical damage. bearing in mind the carriers are designed to withstand a kamikaze attack. but as drones get bigger and heavier they become an easy target

dan
dan
8 months ago

Nice job! Wonder why they didn’t chose the CRAM version?

Andy a
Andy a
8 months ago
Reply to  dan

I thought CRAM was just land based phalanx but with ammo that disintergrates

Dav
Dav
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

I think he meant SeaRAM.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Dav

Sea Ram is a direct replacement for PHX mounted on the same architecture so could replace or even be added to the carriers, they only require a secure fitting and power supply.

Andy G
Andy G
8 months ago

These little guns seem kinda pathetic compared to other CIWS out there.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy G

Yup, the 40mm and 57mm fitted to be fitted to the T31 and their guided rounds look pretty impressive, on paper at least…

Cheers CR

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

There are no guided rounds for 40 and for the 57 it does not seem to be any hurry.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hi AlexS,

Of course, you are correct. I read an article about the new 3P programmable fuze rounds a while ago – its an age thing…

Cheers CR

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

But they have seperate directors , off mount for the most part, which is another thing to break when you need it most.

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

It is the Phalanx that have an extra search radar not the 57 or 40.
Both have directors, the Phalanx in the mount.

David Flandry
David Flandry
8 months ago

Could Phalanx destroy a hypersonic carrier-killer?

AlexS
AlexS
8 months ago
Reply to  David Flandry

No. Effective range of Phalanx is 1.5km at most. I am not even sure the radar and tracking system are prepared to deal with those speeds.

Ron5
Ron5
8 months ago
Reply to  David Flandry

Yes, of course it can.

captain p wash
captain p wash
8 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Facts please otherwise you are just making it up as Usual.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
8 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

As Gunbuster has said before these systems were designed to counter Mach 4.5 weapons which have been around since the Cold War.

Not much difference IRL between Mach 4.5 -> 5.

Hypersonic is the buzz word de jour.

Personally I don’t believe a lot of the hype about wonder weapons.

It is all about defensive layering.

Aster
Ceptor
57mm
30/40mm
Phalanx

Of course omitting EW, the most important, from the list.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  David Flandry

Thats why you have a type 45 with your carrier. each ship has its role

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 months ago

3 systems covering 3 zones plus overlap, 1500 rounds per magazine @ 75 rounds per second. Then what happens ?

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

The word oh dear comes to mind

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

I can think of another word !

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

I bet

Ron5
Ron5
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

The guns get reloaded duh

captain p wash
captain p wash
8 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Thanks Ron5, I would never have worked that one out…….thank God you are so incredibly knowledgeable…. Big Upvote mate….. I guess they can be re-loaded fast enough in times of swarm attacks subject to Barrel Life as well. 3 Guns, 60 seconds of full burst in total before re-loading doesn’t really sound brilliant. Then again if all the Sea Ceptor have been used, I guess there won’t be much left heading inbound.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

SWARM DRONES not big enough yet to do damage apart from soft targets on decks….

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Well said

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

its 4 now forth was fitted in last batch of works…. final arch is closed. and all your support ships in the carrier fleet have PHX. SATURATION

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

” Brace ….Brace…Brace…” usually.

Geoff
Geoff
8 months ago

Despite there being ongoing doubts about Phalanx effectiveness, looking at that coverage graphic, she really needs a 4th on the stern on the starboard side…

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

At least if that’s all she is carrying for ” last chance” protection.

Andrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

The R N have them in stock so not sure why ,maybe cost or space as big as she is.Go and have a word with them Geoff ?

Johan
Johan
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

was fitted in last batch of works in pompey

Paul T
Paul T
7 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Still only has 3 fitted according to the pictures of her Docking in Scotland.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
8 months ago
Reply to  Geoff

You maneuver the vessel to present the strongest part of the vessel to a missile and to open up the firing arcs of weapon systems. All this is advised to command by the Command system and by the COs experience and the PWOs advice.

Rob N
Rob N
8 months ago

The should install the aft Starboard Phalanx too. This would give an extra channel of fire. Also we should ditch the 30mm and swap them out for the 40mm going on the T31. These measures would improve the anti-surface and close in anti-air firepower.

Andy a
Andy a
8 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

I agree on phalanx but I can’t see what the 40mm can do that 30 can’t. After all if planes are that close air wing is dead and carrier is about to be done for. It’s loads of cash for no new capabilities. Now sea ram as well or missle launcher hooked to 30mm that’s worth it

Paul.P
Paul.P
8 months ago
Reply to  Andy a

I think the 40mm has an option for proximity fuse airburst round and the 30mm doesn’t. It would have to score a direct hit on a fast moving air target.
Northrop is developing an airburst round for the 30mm.

Johan
Johan
8 months ago

i thought the QE now had her full set of 4 fitted. not forgetting this a last line of defense and the PHX is a plug n play system self-contained. Type 45 will deal with whatever threat is posed in the Carrier Strike roles. but in current level of status of threat. THAT A DO…

ETH
ETH
7 months ago
Reply to  Johan

It will only be 3 fitted unless the starboard aft sponson is extended.

PaulW
PaulW
8 months ago

I like the concept for 57mm guns with guided munitions. I read an article a while back that the US is working on an anti-missile round that could kill over 5 miles out. So stuff the ships full of twin barrel 57mm mounts and bring back the broadside.

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

The Italian Navy are binning the Breda twin fast forty as a CIWS weapon on their carriers and assault ships. This role is instead going to the 76mm super rapid using the Leonardo Dart guided rounds, which as an effective engagement range of 5000m. Though recent trials have extended the range to 7000m.