Close-in weapon system
A close-in weapon system (CIWS), often pronounced "sea-whiz", is a point-defense weapon system for detecting and destroying short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft which have penetrated the outer defenses, typically mounted shipboard in a naval capacity. Nearly all classes of modern warships are equipped with some kind of CIWS device.
There are two types of CIWS systems. A gun-based CIWS usually consists of a combination of radars, computers, and multiple-barrel, rotary rapid-fire cannons placed on a rotating gun mount. Missile systems use infra-red, passive radar/ESM or semi-active radar terminal guidance to guide missiles to the targeted enemy aircraft or other threats. In some cases, CIWS are used on land to protect military bases. In this case, the CIWS can also protect the base from shell and rocket fire.
A gun-based CIWS usually consists of a combination of radars, computers and rotary or revolver cannon placed on a rotating, automatically-aimed gun mount. Examples of gun-based CIWS products in operation are:
- Denel 35mm Dual Purpose Gun
- Goalkeeper CIWS
- Kashtan CIWS
- Meroka CIWS
- Myriad CIWS
- Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System
- Phalanx CIWS
- Sea Zenith
- Type 730 CIWS
Limitations of gun systems
- Short range: the maximum effective range of 20 mm (0.79 in) gun systems is about 4,500 metres (14,800 ft); systems with lighter projectiles have even shorter range. The expected real-world kill-distance of an incoming anti-ship missile is about 500 m (1,600 ft) or less, still close enough to cause damage to the ship's sensor or communication arrays, or to wound or kill exposed personnel.
- Limited kill probability: even if the missile is hit and damaged, this may not be enough to destroy it entirely or to alter its course enough to prevent the missile, or fragments from it, from hitting its intended target, particularly as the interception distance is short. This is especially true if the gun fires kinetic-energy-only projectiles.
Comparison of some current CIWS
|Type 730 CIWS||AK-630||Phalanx CIWS||Goalkeeper CIWS||DARDO||Millennium|
|Weight||9,800 kg (21,600 lb)||9,114 kg (20,093 lb)||6,200 kg (13,700 lb)||9,902 kg (21,830 lb)||5,500 kg (12,100 lb)||3,300 kg (7,300 lb)|
|Armament||30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled Gatling Gun||30 mm (1.2 in) 6 barreled GSh-6-30 Gatling Gun||20 mm (0.79 in) 6 barreled M61 Vulcan Gatling Gun||30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled GAU-8 Gatling Gun||40 mm (1.6 in) 2 barreled Bofors 40 mm||35 mm (1.4 in) 1 barreled Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System|
|Rate of Fire||7,000 rounds per minute||5,000 rounds per minute||4,500 rounds per minute||4,200 rounds per minute||600/900 rounds per minute||200/1000 rounds per minute|
|(effective/ flat-trajectory) Range||3,000 m (9,800 ft)||4,000 m (13,000 ft)||2,000 m (6,600 ft)||3,600 m (11,800 ft)||4,000 m (13,000 ft)||3,500 m (11,500 ft)|
|Ammunition storage||2,560 rounds||2,000 rounds||1,550 rounds||1,190 rounds||736 rounds||252 rounds|
|Muzzle velocity||1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second||900 m (3,000 ft) per second||1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second||1,109 m (3,638 ft) per second||1,000 m (3,300 ft) per second||1,050 m (3,440 ft) per second / 1,175 m (3,855 ft) per second|
|Elevation||-25 to +85 degrees||-12 to +88 degrees||-25 to +85 degrees||-25 to +85 degrees||-13 to +85 degrees||-15 to +85 degrees|
|Speed in Elevation||100 degrees per second||50 degrees per second||115 degrees per second||100 degrees per second||60 degrees per second||70 degrees per second|
|Traverse||360 degrees||360 degrees||360 degrees||360 degrees||360 degrees||360 degrees|
|Speed in Traverse||100 degrees per second||70 degrees per second||115 degrees per second||100 degrees per second||90 degrees per second||120 degrees per second|
CIWS are also used in a land-based anti-mortar and missile defense role to protect fixed and temporary bases and other facilities.
On a smaller scale, active protection systems are used in some tanks, and several are in development. The Drozd system was deployed on Soviet Naval Infantry tanks in the early 1980s, but later replaced by explosive reactive armour. Other systems that are available or under development are the Russian (Arena), Israeli (Trophy), American (Quick Kill) and the South African-Swedish (LEDS-150).
Laser CIWS Systems
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu, TÜBİTAK) is the second organisation after the US to have developed and tested a High Power Laser CIWS prototype System which is intended to be used on the TF-2000 class frigate and on Turkish airborne systems.
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