US defence contractor Raytheon is set to upgrade nine of the US Navy's Phalanx CIWS anti-ship missile defense systems.
The Phalanx Close-In Weapon System has now been in service for over three decades and equips 15 nations including Australia, Poland, Canada and Japan. A computer-controlled combined 20mm gun and radar system, it's got a rapid-fire capability and is designed to counter threats once they've breached all other naval defences. Firing up to 2,000 rounds a minute, it can release 1,000-round bursts over a range of up to 3.6 kilometres.
To date, over 890 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems have been assembled, each one costing approximately $1.5m and the system's operational history includes the 1991 Gulf War.
Phalanx Weapon Systems Upgrades
The new US Navy Phalanx weapon systems upgrades contract calls not only for modifications to nine examples but, also, for a pair of SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence systems.
SeaRAM serves to augment Phalanx, expanding its operational range and targeting a wider range of threats, including fixed-wing and rotary airborne platforms. Equipped with hi-tech Phalanx Block IB sensors, it replaces the 20mm gun with a rolling airframe missile guide.
Currently fitted to two of the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ships - LCS2 (the USS Independence) and LCS4 (the USS Coronado) - it's also set to equip ships operated by the JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force).
Phalanx Anti-Ship Systems
"Raytheon tailors our ship self-defense systems to meet our customers' requirements", the firm's Naval Weapon Systems vice president, Rick Nelson, explained in a company press release on the Phalanx anti-ship systems upgrades.
"Phalanx and SeaRAM are layered defense solutions that lead the world in scalable technology, while providing unparalleled protection."
Both the Phalanx and the SeaRAM are products originally designed by General Dynamics, whose missile development division is now part of Raytheon. The new contract is a follow-up to a 2009 order, this also contracting Raytheon to upgrade in-service Phalanx systems.
Image copyright US Navy