A further look at HMS Queen Elizabeth's new weapons system.
Weapons and Kit

What Is The Phalanx Close-In Weapons System?

New to HMS Queen Elizabeth, three of these precision weapons are being installed to bolster the ship's defence.

A further look at HMS Queen Elizabeth's new weapons system.

According to developers Raytheon, the Phalanx CIWS  is a "rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun that can defeat anti-ship missiles and other close-in threats" (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The Royal Navy welcomed the HMS Queen Elizabeth back to Portsmouth earlier this month, noticing a slight change in appearance.

Hidden under a white veil, the installation of the weapon system is already well underway.

This tweet came in from the ship following a successful visit to the US:

So, what does this technology do?

Designed to eliminate threats from anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft that have pierced other lines of defence, the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System features include a 20mm M-61A1 Gatling cannon, search and track radar, infrared camera and control stations for visual tracking in the Block 1B model. 

The rapid-fire technology has been installed on all US Navy surface combatant ships, alongside vessels belonging to over 20 allied nations.

The CIWS will improve on-board defence
The United States Navy has already installed the weapons system (Picture: US Department of Defense).

HMS Queen Elizabeth is being armed with three Phalanx systems, each one capable of emptying a 1,550-round magazine at 4,500 rounds-per-minute.

As the cannons are to be called upon as a last resort, the effective range is approximately 9 kilometers.

The effective range is up to 9 kilometers
Rounds are fired at 1,100 meters per-second, and HMS Queen Elizabeth will hold three Phalanx systems (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Compared to a range of air-to-surface missiles, this is relatively short.

However, with each round released at 1,100 meters-per-second, the crew on board will feel much safer when the installation is complete.