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2017 Phalanx CIWS - Wikipedia

Phalanx CIWS
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Phalanx CIWS (pronounced "sea-whiz") is a close-in

Phalanx CIWS
weapon system for defense against anti-ship missiles. It was
designed and manufactured by the General Dynamics
Corporation, Pomona Division[5] (now a part of Raytheon).
Consisting of a radar-guided 20 mm Vulcan cannon mounted
on a swiveling base, the Phalanx has been used by multiple
navies around the world, notably the United States Navy on
every class of surface combat ship with the exception of the
San Antonio class LPD,[7] by the British Royal Navy on its
older escorts (where weight prevents the use of the heavier
Dutch Goalkeeper 30 mm CIWS), and by the United States
Coast Guard aboard its Hamilton and Legend-class cutters.
The Phalanx is used by 16 other allied nations.
Phalanx (Block 1A) live fire test aboard
A land based variant, known as the LPWS (Land-based USS Monterey in November 2008.
Phalanx Weapon System), part of the C-RAM system, has
recently been deployed in a short range missile defense role, Type Close-in weapon system
to counter incoming rockets and artillery fire.[8] Place of origin United States

Because of their distinctive barrel-shaped radome and their Service history

automated nature of operation, Phalanx CIWS units are In service 1980present
sometimes nicknamed "R2-D2" after the famous droid Used by See operators
character from the Star Wars films.[9][10]
Wars Persian Gulf War
Production history
Contents Designer General Dynamics (now
1 History Manufacturer General Dynamics (now
2 Design Raytheon)
2.1 Upgrades
3 Operation Unit cost
5X Block 1B 8.56M
3.1 Radar subsystems
pound to UK
3.2 Gun and ammunition handling system 9X Block 1B 13.66M
3.3 CIWS contact target identification USD each for SK
4 Incidents 13 sets MK15 Phalanx
4.1 Drone exercise catastrophic accidents Block 1B Baseline 2 for
4.2 Iraqi missile attack in 1991 Gulf War TW, 8 set is for
4.3 Accidental downing of US aircraft by the upgrading the current
Japanese destroyer Ygiri Block 0 to MK15
Phalanx Block 1B
5 Centurion C-RAM Baseline 2, total cost:
6 Operators 0.416B with 260K MK
6.1 Current operators 244 MOD 0 armor
7 Specifications (Block 1A/B) piercing bullet,
8 Similar systems Baseline2 is the newest
9 References model in Block 1B on
9.1 Notes 11/2016
10 External links
(price may vary for
different amounts of
ammo, technical
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The Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) was protocols, and personnel
developed as the last line of automated weapons defense training)[1]
(terminal defense or point defense) against anti-ship missiles
Produced 1978[2]
(AShMs or ASMs) and attacking aircraft, including high-g
and maneuvering sea-skimmers. Specifications
Weight 12,500 lb (5,700 kg),
The first prototype
later models 13,600 lb
system was offered
(6,200 kg)[2]
to the U.S. Navy for
evaluation on the Barrel length Block 0 & 1 (L76 gun
destroyer leader barrel): 60 in
USS King in 1973 (1,500 mm)
and it was Block 1B (L99 gun
determined that barrel): 78 in
(2,000 mm)[3]
improvements were
The Phalanx prototype on USS King in required to improve Height 15.5 ft (4.7 m)
1973. performance and Crew Automated, with human
reliability. oversight
Subsequently, the
Phalanx Operational Suitability Model successfully
completed its Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) on Shell Naval: Armor-piercing
board the destroyer USS Bigelow in 1977. The model tungsten penetrator
exceeded operational maintenance, reliability, and rounds with discarding
availability specifications. Another evaluation successfully sabots.
followed, and the weapon system was approved for Land: High-Explosive
production in 1978. Phalanx production started with orders Incendiary Tracer, Self-
for 23 USN and 14 foreign military systems. The first ship
fully fitted out was the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea in
1980. The Navy began placing CIWS systems on non- Caliber 20102 mm
combatant vessels in 1984. Barrels 6-barrel (progressive RH
parabolic twist, 9
Design grooves)
Elevation Block 0: -10/+80
The basis of the system is the 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling Block 1: -20/+80
gun autocannon, used since 1959 by the United States
(Rate of elevation:
military on various tactical aircraft, linked to a Ku-band
86/sec for Block 0/1)
radar system for acquiring and tracking targets. This proven
system was combined with a purpose-made mounting, Block 1B: -25/+85
capable of fast elevation and traverse speeds, to track (Rate of elevation:
incoming targets. An entirely self-contained unit, the 115/sec)[3]
mounting houses the gun, an automated fire-control system Traverse 150 from either side
and all other major components, enabling it to automatically of centerline
search for, detect, track, engage, and confirm kills using its
(Rate of traverse:
computer-controlled radar system. Due to this self-contained
100/sec for Block 0 &
nature, Phalanx is ideal for support ships, which lack
integrated targeting systems and generally have limited 1, 116/sec for Block
sensors. The entire unit has a mass between 12,400 to 1B)[3]
13,500 lb (5,600 to 6,100 kg). Rate of fire Block 0/1: 3,000
rounds/minute (50
Upgrades rounds/second)
Block 1A/1B: 4,500

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Due to the rounds/minute (75

continuing evolution rounds/second)
of both threats and
Muzzle velocity 3,600 ft/s (1,100 m/s)[3]
technology, the Effective firing range Classified[2][4]
Phalanx system has, Maximum firing range 2.2 mi (3.5 km)[3]
like most military
systems, been
Main 120 mm M61 Vulcan
developed through a
Rounds from a Mk-15 Phalanx CIWS armament
number of different 6-barreled Gatling
from the guided missile destroyer
configurations. The cannon[5]
USS Mitscher impact ex-USNS Saturn
during a sinking exercise (SINKEX), basic (original) style Guidance Ku-band radar and
2010. is the Block 0, system FLIR[6]
equipped with first-
generation, solid-
state electronics and with marginal capability against surface targets. The Block 1 (1988) upgrade offered
various improvements in radar, ammunition, computing power, rate of fire, and an increase in maximum
engagement elevation to +70 degrees. These improvements were intended to increase the system's capability
against emerging Russian supersonic anti-ship missiles. Block 1A introduced a new computer system to
counter more maneuverable targets. The Block 1B PSuM (Phalanx Surface Mode, 1999) adds a forward-
looking infrared (FLIR) sensor to make the weapon effective against surface targets.[11] This addition was
developed to provide ship defense against small vessel threats and other "floaters" in littoral waters and to
improve the weapon's performance against slower low-flying aircraft. The FLIR's capability is also of use
against low-observability missiles and can be linked with the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM)
system to increase RAM engagement range and accuracy. The Block 1B also allows for an operator to visually
identify and target threats.[11]

As the system model manager, the U.S. Navy is in the process of upgrading all their Phalanx systems to the
Block 1B configuration. All U.S Navy Phalanx systems are scheduled for upgrade to Block 1B by the end of
FY 2015. In addition to the FLIR sensor, the Block 1B incorporates an automatic acquisition video tracker,
optimized gun barrels (OGB), and Enhanced Lethality Cartridges (ELC) for additional capabilities against
asymmetric threats such as small maneuvering surface craft, slow-flying fixed and rotary-winged aircraft, and
unmanned aerial vehicles. The FLIR sensor improves performance against anti-ship cruise missiles, while the
OGB and ELC provide tighter dispersion and increased "first-hit" range; the Mk 244 ELC is specifically
designed to penetrate anti-ship missiles with a 48% heavier tungsten penetrator round and an aluminum nose
piece. Another system upgrade is the Phalanx 1B Baseline 2 radar to improve detection performance, increase
reliability, and reduce maintenance. It also has a surface mode to track, detect, and destroy threats closer to the
water's surface, increasing the ability to defend against fast-attack boats and low-flying missiles; the Baseline 2
radar upgrade is to be installed on all U.S. Navy Phalanx system-equipped vessels by FY 2019.[12] The Block
1B is also used by other navies, such as Canada, Portugal, Japan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UK.[13]

In April 2017, Raytheon tested a new electric gun for the Phalanx
allowing the system to fire at varying rates to conserve ammunition.
The new design replaces the pneumatic motor, compressor, and storage
tanks, reducing system weight by 180 lb (82 kg) while increasing
reliability and reducing operating costs.[14]

US Navy Phalanx CIWS Maintenance
& Live Firing Test
The CIWS is designed to be the last line of defense against anti-ship
missiles. Due to its design criteria, its effective range is very short
relative to the range of modern ASMs, from 1 to 5 nautical miles (2 to
9 km). The gun mount moves at a very high speed and with great precision. The system takes minimal inputs
from the ship, making it capable of functioning despite potential damage to the ship. The only inputs required
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for operation are 440 V AC three-phase electric power at 60 Hz and water (for electronics cooling). For full
operation, including some non-essential functions, it also has inputs for true compass ship's heading and 115 V
AC for the PASS subsystem.

Radar subsystems

The CIWS has two antennas that work together to engage targets. The
first antenna, for searching, is located inside the radome on the weapon
control group (top of the white-painted portion). The search subsystem
provides bearing, range, velocity, heading, and altitude information of
potential targets to the CIWS computer. This information is analyzed to
determine whether the detected object should be engaged by the CIWS
system. Once the computer identifies a valid target (see details below), A technician checks the radar
the mount moves to face the target and then hands the target over to the transmitter and microwave assemblies
tracking antenna. The track antenna is extremely precise, but views a of a Phalanx CIWS, most likely a Block
much smaller area. The tracking subsystem observes the target until the 0. On the unit in the background, the
computer determines that the probability of a successful hit is search radar can be seen at the top left
maximized and then, depending on the operator conditions, the system with the vertical, orange-peel shaped,
either fires automatically or recommends fire to the operator. While tracking radar below it.
firing, the system tracks outgoing rounds and 'walks' them onto the

Gun and ammunition handling system

The Block 0 CIWS mounts (hydraulic driven) fired at a rate of 3,000

rounds per minute and held 989 rounds in the magazine drum.[5] The
Block 1 CIWS mounts (hydraulic) also fired at 3,000 rounds per minute
with an extended magazine drum holding 1,550 rounds. The Block 1A
and newer (pneumatic driven) CIWS mounts fire at a rate of 4,500
rounds per minute with a 1,550-round magazine. The velocity of the
U.S. Navy sailors load tungsten rounds fired is approximately 3,600 feet per second (1,100 m/s). The
ammunition (white sabots at right) and rounds are armor-piercing tungsten penetrator rounds or depleted
off-load dummy ammunition (left). uranium with discarding sabots. The Phalanx CIWS 20 mm rounds are
designed to destroy a missile's airframe and make it unaerodynamic,
thus keeping shrapnel from the exploding projectile to a minimum,
effectively keeping collateral damage to a minimum. The ammunition handling system has two conveyor belt
systems. The first takes the rounds out of the magazine drum to the gun; the second takes empty shells or non-
fired rounds to the opposite end of the drum.

The 20 mm APDS rounds consist of a 15 mm penetrator encased in a plastic sabot and a lightweight metal
pusher.[15] Shells fired by the Phalanx cost around $30 each and the gun typically fires 100 or more when
engaging a target.[16]

CIWS contact target identification

The CIWS does not recognize identification friend or foe, also known as IFF. The CIWS only has the data it
collects in real time from the radars to decide if the target is a threat and to engage it. A contact must meet
multiple criteria for the CIWS to consider it a target. These criteria include:

1. Is the range of the target increasing or decreasing in relation to the ship? The CIWS search radar sees
contacts that are out-bound and discards them. The CIWS engages a target only if it is approaching the
2. Is the contact capable of maneuvering to hit the ship? If a contact is not heading directly at the ship, the
CIWS looks at its heading in relation to the ship and its velocity. It then decides if the contact can still
perform a maneuver to hit the ship.
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3. Is the contact traveling between the minimum and maximum

velocities? The CIWS has the ability to engage targets that travel
in a wide range of speeds; however, it is not an infinitely wide
range. The system has a target maximum-velocity limit. If a
target exceeds this velocity, the CIWS does not engage it. It also
has a target minimum-velocity limit, and does not engage any
contact below that velocity. The operator can adjust the minimum
and maximum limits within the limits of the system.

There are many other subsystems that together ensure proper operation, A sailor sits at a CIWS Local Control
such as environmental control, transmitter, mount movement control, Panel (LCP) during a general quarters
power control and distribution, and so on. It takes six to eight months to drill.
train a technician to maintain, operate, and repair the CIWS.

Drone exercise catastrophic accidents

On 10 February 1983, USS Antrim was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States
using the Phalanx against a target drone. Although the drone was successfully engaged at close range, the target
debris bounced off the sea surface and struck the ship. This caused significant damage and fire from the drone's
residual fuel, which also killed a civilian instructor aboard this ship.[17][18]

On 11 October 1989, USS El Paso was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States
using the Phalanx against a target drone. The drone was successfully engaged, but as the drone fell to the sea,
the CIWS re-engaged it as a continued threat to El Paso. Rounds from the Phalanx struck the bridge of
USS Iwo Jima, killing one officer and injuring a petty officer.[19]

Iraqi missile attack in 1991 Gulf War

On 25 February 1991, during the first Gulf War, the Phalanx-equipped frigate USS Jarrett was a few miles
from the US battleship USS Missouri and the British destroyer HMS Exeter. The ships were thought to be
under attack by an Iraqi Silkworm missile (often referred to as the Seersucker), at which time Missouri fired its
SRBOC chaff. The Phalanx system on Jarrett, operating in the automatic target-acquisition mode, fixed on
Missouri's chaff, releasing a burst of rounds. From this burst, four rounds hit Missouri, which was 23 miles
(3.24.8 km) from Jarrett at the time. There were no injuries.[20] No missile had in fact been fired, the chaff
firing was in response to an erroneous 'missile firing alert' that was actually an oil well head going up. The
Iraqis had been setting the oil wells alight in Kuwait for some days. Exeter had relieved HMS Gloucester in the
Northern Gulf a few days before and, in the weeks before that, Gloucester had taken out a Silkworm aimed at

Accidental downing of US aircraft by the Japanese

destroyer Ygiri

On 4 June 1996, a Japanese Phalanx accidentally shot down a US A-6

Intruder from the aircraft carrier USS Independence that was towing a
radar target during gunnery exercises about 1,500 miles west of the
main Hawaiian island of Oahu. A Phalanx aboard the Asagiri-
class destroyer JDS Ygiri locked onto the Intruder instead of the target.
Both the pilot and bombardier/navigator ejected safely.[21] A post- JMSDF mounted Phalanx CIWS
accident investigation concluded that Ygiri's gunnery officer gave the
order to fire before the A-6 was out of the CIWS engagement

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Centurion C-RAM
Seeking a solution to constant rocket and mortar attacks on bases in
Iraq, the United States Army requested a quick-to-field anti-projectile
system in May 2004, as part of its Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar
initiative.[24] The end result of this program was 'Centurion'. For all
intents and purposes a terrestrial version of the Navy's CIWS, the
Centurion was rapidly developed,[25] with a proof-of-concept test in
November that same year. It began deployment to Iraq in 2005,[24][26]
where it was set up to protect forward operating bases and other high-
value sites in and around the capital, Baghdad.[27] Israel has purchased
Centurion C-RAM
a single system for testing purposes, and was reported[28] to have
considered buying the system to counter rocket attacks and defend point
military installations. However, the swift and effective development and
performance of Israel's indigenous Iron dome system has ruled out any purchase or deployment of Centurion.

Each system consists of a modified Phalanx 1B CIWS, powered by an attached generator and mounted on a
trailer for mobility. Including the same 20 mm M61A1 Gatling gun, the unit is likewise capable of firing 4,500
20 mm rounds per minute.[8][29] In 2008, there were more than 20 CIWS systems protecting bases in the U.S.
Central Command area of operations. A Raytheon spokesman told Navy Times that 105 attacks were defeated
by the systems, most of them involving mortars. Based on the success of Centurion, 23 additional systems were
ordered in September 2008.[30]

Like the naval (1B) version, Centurion uses Ku-band radar and FLIR[31] to detect and track incoming
projectiles, and is also capable of engaging surface targets, with the system able to reach a minus-25-degree
elevation.[31] The Centurion is reportedly capable of defending a 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2) area.[32] One major
difference between the land- and sea-based variants is the choice of ammunition. Whereas naval Phalanx
systems fire tungsten armor-piercing rounds, the C-RAM uses the 20 mm HEIT-SD (High-Explosive
Incendiary Tracer, Self-Destruct) ammunition, originally developed for the M163 Vulcan Air Defense
System.[25][33] These rounds explode on impact with the target, or on tracer burnout, thereby greatly reducing
the risk of collateral damage should any rounds fail to hit their target.[25][33]

Current operators

Greece[35] Map of Phalanx CIWS operators in blue
New Zealand[34]
Saudi Arabia[34]

South Korea[39]
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South Korea[39]
Taiwan (13 sets MK15 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2, 8 set
is for upgrading the current Block 0 to MK15 Phalanx Block 1B
Baseline 2, total cost: 0.416B with 260K MK 244 MOD 0 armor
piercing bullet, Baseline2 is the newest model in Block 1B on
United Kingdom[36]
United States[36]

Specifications (Block 1A/B)

Gun: 1 20 mm M61 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon[5]
Height: 15.5 ft (4.7 m)
Weight: 12,500 lb (5,700 kg), later models 13,600 lb
(6,200 kg)[2]
Elevation 25 to +85
Muzzle velocity: 3,600 ft/s (1,100 m/s)
Rate of fire: 4,500 rounds/minute
Maximum burst size: 1000 rounds
Ammunition capacity: 1,550 rounds
Radar: Ku band
100% Kill distance: Classified
Cost: $3.8 Million[41]
Target Mach 2.[42]

Similar systems
AK-630, Russian CIWS
Kashtan CIWS, Russian Gun-Missile CIWS
Goalkeeper CIWS, Dutch CIWS Raytheon Missile Systems Phalanx
Meroka CIWS, Spanish navy Block 1B close-in weapon system
Barak 1, Israel. missile-based (CIWS) on board the Royal Navy Type
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, U.S. missile-based 45 destroyer HMS Daring.
Type 730 CIWS, Chinese CIWS


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Hazegray.org. 2002-03-25. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
41. "FY97 Annual Report - PHALANX CLOSE-IN WEAPON SYSTEM (CIWS)" (http://www.globalsecurit
y.org/military/library/budget/fy1997/dot-e/navy/97ciws.html). Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
42. https://vz.ru/society/2017/4/17/866694.html

External links
Official United States Navy Warfighters Encyclopedia CIWS page (https://web.archive.org/web/2006082
GlobalSecurity.org fact file (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/systems/mk-15.htm)
Raytheon Company Phalanx CIWS product page (http://www.raytheon.com/products/phalanx/)

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