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Phalanx gun system receives £18m revamp to protect Royal Navy ships

Pictured is the Forward Phalanx as it fires its rounds against a static target
2 November 2023
Nearly £18m will be pumped into the Royal Navy’s Phalanx Gatling guns to keep pace with the latest threats.

Defence firm Babcock has won a three-year contract to maintain and upgrade the automated guns, which serve as the penultimate line of defence against missile, air and fast-boat attacks for much of the Fleet.

Officially designated a Close-in-Weapons System, Phalanx spews out 60 20mm armour-piercing shells every second – 3,000 rounds a minute – at targets.
The gun is fitted to a string of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, including all four capital ships, all Type 45 destroyers, all RFA Tide-class tankers, Bay-class support vessels and aviation training/casualty treatment ship RFA Argus.

Originally designed to intercept aerial threats, more recently Phalanx has been adapted to deal with ‘asymmetric threats’ on the water such as fast-attack craft, speedboats and jet skis.

Should any attacker evade Phalanx, a last line of defence is provided by a ship’s gunnery team and a mix of small arms including machine guns and Miniguns.
Babcock, which has provided support for Phalanx for the past 17 years has been awarded £17.9m to maintain, upgrade and provide spare parts for up to 41 weapon systems for the next three years.

The work will be carried out by the firm’s weapons team, based in Devonport, where they also maintain other RN systems and firepower, including the main 4.5in gun.


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