Britain’s most powerful warship has been bolstered with a formidable armament system capable of  automatically tracking and destroying threats and shooting down enemy aircraft at short-range.

HMS Queen Elizabeth now boasts three Phalanx 1B computer-controlled guns, which can empty a 1,550-round magazine at 4,500 rounds-per-minute against a range of threats on land and at sea. 

The technology provides an early warning of attacks and has already been installed on all US Navy surface combatant ships, alongside vessels belonging to more than 20 allied nations.

The Phalanx 1B is able to identify and confirm incoming dangers and automatically carries out functions usually performed by multiple systems, including search, detection, threat evaluation, tracking, engagement and kill assessment. 

The armament is radar-controlled and is said to provide a ‘last chance’ defence for ships against anti-ship missiles and aircraft. 

The Royal Navy’s £3billion carrier had the guns installed while docked in Portsmouth, ahead of her first operational mission which will take in the South China Sea, Mediterranean, Middle East and the Pacific.

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