The Phalanx, or CIWS, is an area weapon engineered to use a high rate of fire and ammunition to blanket a given area, thus destroying or knocking threats out of the sky before they reach a ship. The Phalanx CIWS, which can fire up to 4,500 rounds per minute, has been protecting ship platforms for decades.
The U.S. is in the process of upgrading all their Phalanx systems to the Block 1B configuration. All Phalanx systems in use by the U.S. Navy are scheduled to be upgraded to Block 1B by FY 2015. The Block 1B incorporates a stabilized Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) sensor, 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 44 percent heavier tungsten penetrator 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 systems by FY 2019.
Raytheon Missile Systems Phalanx Block 1B close-in weapon system (CIWS) on board the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring.
“The Phalanx 1B fires Mk 244 ammunition, the Enhanced Lethality Cartridge specifically designed to penetrate anti-ship cruise missiles,” said Al Steichen, Business Development, Raytheon Naval and Area Mission Defense.
The Mk 244 ammunition is engineered with a 48 percent heavier tungsten penetrator and an aluminum nose piece, according to information from General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical System.
Russian media has reported that China’s latest indigenous Type 1130 close-in weapon system can fire 10,000 rounds per minute and destroy 90% of hypersonic missiles traveling at a speed four times the speed of sound.
The system, which is the third-generation of the close-in weapon system developed by China, was recently spotted being installed on a PLA Type 054A frigate.
China’s 1130 close in weapon system
Compared to its seven-barreled Type 730 predecessor, the Type 1130’s Gatling-type gun has the same 30 mm caliber but the number of barrels increased to 11. While the Type 730 has only one magazine which contains 250 rounds, the latest gun carries two magazines each containing 640 rounds. The design allows the gun to fire over 10,000 rounds per minute and raise its hit rate against missiles traveling at Mach 4 to 90%, according to the Russian media outlet cited.
Though the mammoth rotary cannon has been placed on a Type 054A frigate that only has around a 4,000-ton displacement, the Russian media claimed the system should be deployed on ships with a displacement over 12,000 tons due to its size and weight as well as the amount of electricity it consumes.
US Phalanx system
SOURCES – Defense Tech, Wikipedia, Want China Times
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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