Britain’s Most Advanced Warship Gets Extra Firepower

Britain’s most advanced warship has a little extra firepower today with the installation of two automatic machine-guns which throw up a wall of steel against attackers.

HMS Daring has become the first Type 45 destroyer to receive the Phalanx Gatling gun – the latest version of the battle-proven weapon which serves as the last line of defence for numerous surface ships.

Phalanx has been around since the early 80s and was fitted to RN warships in the wake of the Falklands conflict when enemy missiles evaded the outer ring of task force defences and fatally damaged HMS Sheffield and the support vessel Atlantic Conveyor.

Nearly 30 years later and the most recent version of Phalanx, 1B, has been installed on the warship not merely to deal with the missile threat, but also to blast surface targets – such as speedboats or jetskis – out of the water by day or night.

That’s particularly apt in the wake of the USS Cole incident a decade ago when suicide bombers blew a hole in the side of the American ship and killed several members of the ship’s company.

Numerous Phalanx guns were removed from ships and employed by RN crews around Basra airfield in Iraq where they protected the base from incoming missiles and mortars.

Two Phalanx – said to look like the Star Wars robot R2D2 (the ship’s comparison, not ours…) – have been installed on D32 (or should that be R2D32?) and will be tested later this year against both air and sea targets.

Phalanx is a crucial capability against today’s modern threats,” explains Lt Thomas Gell, Daring’s Fighter Controller 2.

The guns spew out an impressive 4,500 steel darts in a minute and will completely shred any incoming target.

They can shoot down incoming missiles going faster than the speed of sound and engage low, slow or hovering aircraft and surface craft by day or night.”

CPOET(WE) Norris, the lead maintainer for the new gun system, is now training his team to look after Phalanx.

It’s very exciting for everybody involved – taking it from installation, setting it to work and getting ready for live firings.”

“It is a real challenge to train everybody onboard, particularly for the first time on a Type 45.”
Source: royalnavy, July 14, 2011;