Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales shows off its hi-tech miniguns as it prepares for active service

THE Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier HMS Prince Of Wales has ramped up tests of its warfighting capabilities as it engages its state-of-the-art miniguns.

Sunday, 27th June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 9:18 am

The 65,000-tonne behemoth departed Portsmouth on June 6 to continue a series of sea trials before it begins active service.

Now the £3.2bn warship has continued tests of its defence systems, including its on-board Phalanx close-in weapons system which can spew 75 rounds in a second.

In a video posted to social media, the ship’s high-speed minigun fires a prolonged burst of rounds – ready to take on threats from both the sea and the air.

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Scott, an onboard weapons engineer who provides a voice-over in the video, says the 15ft weapons unit is the ship’s ‘last line of defence’.

He said: ‘The name phalanx comes from ancient Greece, known as an impenetrable shield formation.

‘Our phalanx is no different.

‘It fires a wall of rounds to form our own impenetrable shield. We can engage air and surface threats at 4,000 yards at a rate of 4,500 rounds a minute, which is enough to smash the hardest of targets. A self-contained radar (can) find and track a golf ball sized target at 10,000 yards.

The Phalanx gun onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth firing a salute to the Queen last month. Photo: Twitter/HMS Queen Elizabeth
The Phalanx gun onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth firing a salute to the Queen last month. Photo: Twitter/HMS Queen Elizabeth

‘We’re the guardians of the ship, the last line of defence.

‘When all else fails – we do not.’

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The defence system is also fitted on a variety of Royal Navy vessels, including Type 45 destroyers – like Portsmouth-based HMS Defender, which was recently buzzed by Russian jets near Crimea.

HMS Prince of Wales pictured sailing into Portsmouth for the first time. Photo: Royal Navy

With a flight deck large enough to accommodate three football pitches, HMS Prince of Wales can carry up to 36 F-35B aircraft and houses a crew of more than 1,600 personnel when aircraft are onboard.

The second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier is scheduled to enter active service duties around the globe from 2023.

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HMS Prince of Wale is due to enter active service in 2023. Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images