Phalanx CIWS: The Last Defense, On Ship and Ashore
February 14/19: Phalanx for Queen Elizabeth Ahead of its first operational mission, Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth was bolstered with the Phalanx 1B Weapon System. The Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun that is able to defeat anti-ship missiles and other close-in threats on land and at sea.The 1B variant’s configuration augments the Phalanx system’s proven anti-air warfare capability by adding a forward-looking infrared sensor. It allows the system to be used against helicopters and high-speed surface craft at sea while the land-based version helps identify and confirm incoming dangers. Because of the Phalanx’s distinctive barrel-shaped radome and its automated nature, it is sometimes known by the nickname R2-D2 – based on the Star Wars character. HMS Queen Elizabeth will boast three Phalanx 1B computer-controlled guns, which can empty a 1,550-round magazine at 4,500 rounds-per-minute.
The radar-guided, rapid-firing MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS, pron. “see-whiz”) can fire between 3,000-4,500 20mm cannon rounds per minute, either autonomously or under manual command, as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. Phalanx uses closed-loop spotting with advanced radar and computer technology to locate, identify and direct a stream of armor piercing projectiles toward the target. These capabilities have made the Phalanx CIWS a critical bolt-on sub-system for naval vessels around the world, and led to the C-RAM/Centurion, a land-based system designed to defend against incoming artillery and mortars.
This DID Spotlight article offers updated, in-depth coverage that describes ongoing deployment and research projects within the Phalanx family of weapons, the new land-based system’s new technologies and roles, and international contracts from FY 2005 onward. As of Feb 28/07, more than 895 Phalanx systems had been built and deployed in the navies of 22 nations.
The Phalanx Platform: Competition, Upgrades & Developments
Phalanx: New Frontiers
Phalanx Contracts and Key Events
FY 2014 – 2018
FY 2012 – 2013
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