Raytheon UK head of strategic programmes Paul Gilligan said the vessels would boost the Royal Navy’s 2020 capability plans and significantly increase marine self-defence.
"The constant evolution of the threat demands the most successful and reliable method of protection, which Phalanx provides," he said.
The rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar Phalanx can automatically acquire, track and destroy enemy threats that infiltrate the ship’s other defence systems.
Raytheon Missile Systems naval and area mission defence product line vice president Rick Nelson said the weapon would provide self-defence to ship fleets operating in blue water and littoral environments from threats launched from land, sea and air.
In addition to a 20mm Gatling gun to fire armour-piercing rounds at 3,000 or 4,500 shots in one minute, the Phalanx block 1 configuration features advanced search-and-track Ku-band radar with closed-loop spotting technology to provide autonomous target detection and engagement.
Block 1B enables operators to visually track and identify targets before engagement using new control stations with situational awareness.
The Phalanx weapon system supports mission objectives, such as search, detection, threat evaluation, tracking and engagement, as well as kill assessment.
Deliveries of the weapon systems to the UK MoD are scheduled to begin in 2013, while Babcock Marine will provide installation and in-service support.
Raytheon has delivered more than 890 Phalanx weapon systems to navies of 25 nations to date.
Image: A Raytheon-built Phalanx Block 1B system equipped with improved barrel and FLIR. Photo: courtesy of toshinori baba.