Hardfacing alloys provide strong, wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant coatings for extreme environments such as those within nuclear reactors. Here, we report an ultra-high-strength Fe–Cr–Ni silicide phase, named π-ferrosilicide, within a hardfacing Fe-based alloy. Electron diffraction tomography has allowed the determination of the atomic structure of this phase. Nanohardness testing indicates that the π-ferrosilicide phase is up to 2.5 times harder than the surrounding austenite and ferrite phases. The compressive strength of the π-ferrosilicide phase is exceptionally high and does not yield despite loading in excess of 1.6 GPa. Such a high-strength silicide phase could not only provide a new type of strong, wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant Fe-based coating, replacing more costly and hazardous Co-based alloys for nuclear applications, but also lead to the development of a new class of high-performance silicide-strengthened stainless steels, no longer reliant on carbon for strengthening.