Close-in weapon system

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A close-in weapon system (CIWS /ˈswɪz/ SEE-wiz)[1] 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 on a naval ship. Nearly all classes of larger 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 rapid-firing multiple-barrel rotary cannons placed on a rotating turret. Missile-based CIWSs use either 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.

Gun systems[edit]

Phalanx CIWS and Bofors 40mm L70 Gun aboard ROCN Di Hua (PFG-1206)

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:

Limitations of gun systems[edit]

  • Short range: the maximum effective range of gun systems is about 5,000 metres (16,000 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,[4] still close enough to cause damage to the ship's sensor or communication arrays, or to wound or kill exposed personnel. Thus some CIWS like Russian Kashtan and Pantsir systems are augmented by installing the close range SAMs on the same mount for increased tactical flexibility.
  • 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. Even in the case of a direct hit, the missile, or fragments from it may still impact the intended target, particularly if the final interception distance is short. This is especially true if the gun fires kinetic-energy-only projectiles.[5]

Comparison table[edit]

Italy DARDO[6] Netherlands Goalkeeper Russia Kashtan[7] Switzerland Millennium[8] United States Phalanx[9] China Type 730[10]
Image 2014.3.19 해군 2함대 천안함 4주기 해상기동 훈련 Republic of Korea Navy 2nd Fleet Command (13370378983).jpg Goalkeeper CIWS Gun Opens Fire During Exercise at Sea MOD 45151583.jpg Кортик на корвете Стерегущий.jpg Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun Systems on HDMS Absalon (L16).jpg Phalanx CIWS - ID 060817-N-8547M-014.jpg Handan (579) Frigate - Type 1130 CIWS - Side View.jpg
Weight 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) 9,902 kg (21,830 lb) 15,500 kg (34,200 lb) 3,300 kg (7,300 lb) 6,200 kg (13,700 lb) 9,800 kg (21,600 lb)
Armament 40 mm (1.6 in) 2 barreled Bofors 40 mm 30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled GAU-8 Gatling Gun 30 mm (1.2 in) 6 barreled GSh-6-30 Gatling Gun

8 × 9M311K + 32 missiles

35 mm (1.4 in) 1 barreled Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System 20 mm (0.79 in) 6 barreled M61 Vulcan Gatling Gun 30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled Gatling Gun
Rate of fire 600/900 rounds per minute 4,200 rounds per minute 10,000 rounds/min (5,000 per gun)

1–2 (salvo) missiles per 3–4 sec

200/1000 rounds per minute 4,500 rounds per minute 7,000 rounds per minute
(effective/ flat-trajectory) Range 4,000 m (13,000 ft) 3,600 m (11,800 ft) Missiles: 1,500–10,000 m (4,900–32,800 ft)
Guns: 300–5,000 m (980–16,400 ft)
3,500 m (11,500 ft) 2,000 m (6,600 ft) 3,000 m (9,800 ft)
Ammunition storage 736 rounds 1,190 rounds 2 x 2,000 rounds 252 rounds 1,550 rounds 640 or 2 x 500 rounds (depending on model)
Muzzle velocity 1,000 m (3,300 ft) per second 1,109 m (3,638 ft) per second 960-1100 m/s (3,150-3,610 ft/s) 1,050 m (3,440 ft) per second / 1,175 m (3,855 ft) per second 1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second 1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second
Elevation −13 to +85 degrees −25 to +85 degrees ? −15 to +85 degrees −25 to +85 degrees −25 to +85 degrees
Speed in elevation 60 degrees per second 100 degrees per second 50 degrees per second 70 degrees per second 115 degrees per second 100 degrees per second
Traverse 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 °
Speed in Traverse 90 degrees per second 100 degrees per second 70 degrees per second 120 degrees per second 115 degrees per second 100 degrees per second
In service ? 1980 1989 2003 1980 2007

Missile systems[edit]


CIWS are also used on land in the form of C-RAM.[11] On a smaller scale, active protection systems are used in some tanks (to destroy rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 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 systems[edit]

Laser-based CIWS systems are being researched. In August 2014 an operational prototype was deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Ponce.[12] 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.[13][14][15]


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  4. ^ Wachsberger, Christian; Lucas, Michael; Krstic, Alexander (June 2004), Limitations of Guns as a Defence against Manoeuvring Air Weapons (PDF), DSTO Systems Sciences Laboratory, p. 36, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-23, retrieved 2012-07-04
  5. ^ Discovery Channel Discovery Channel Science Top 10 Weapon: Fire Power
  6. ^ Tony DiGiulian. "Italy 40 mm/70 (1.57") Breda". Archived from the original on 2015-01-02. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
  7. ^ "Kashtan Kashtan-M Kashtan Кортик экспортное наименование «Каштан» CADS-N-1 Palma Palash Пальма close in weapon system CIWS Russian Navy Technology datasheet pictures photos video specifications". Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  8. ^ Rheinmetall Oerlikon Millennium Gun
  9. ^ Dan Petty. "The US Navy - Fact File". Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
  10. ^ 偶军航母上的蜂窝制造者是国产11管近防炮,射速可达每分钟1万发......偶早在2009年就知道鸟 - 飞扬军事 - 信息资讯 - 军事主题 - 骑鲸蹈海. 兄弟 (in Chinese). May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2009-12-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ U.S. Navy Deploys Its First Laser Weapon in the Persian Gulf Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine -, 14 November 2014
  13. ^ Insinna, Valerie (2015-02-14). "turkey-laser-weapon-indigenous-tubitak-test". Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  14. ^ "Turkey creates laser weapon". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  15. ^ "Turkey aims to second US in using laser as military weapon | General | Worldbulletin News". 2015-01-19. Archived from the original on 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2016-12-03.