Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar

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Israeli Iron Dome air defense and C-RAM system.
2010 test-fire of a C-RAM. Balad, Iraq

Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar, abbreviated C-RAM or Counter-RAM, is a set of systems used to detect and/or destroy incoming artillery, rockets and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets, or simply provide early warning.

C-RAM is effectively a land version of weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS radar-controlled rapid-fire gun for close in protection of vessels from missiles.


C-RAM is an initiative taken in response to an operational needs statement made by the Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I). The directive arose in response to the increasing number of casualties caused by attacks using rockets, artillery, and mortars in Iraq. The land-based Phalanx B (also known as the Land-based Phalanx Weapon System) was subsequently deployed in Iraq in the summer of 2004. It protected the Green Zone and Camp Victory in Baghdad, Joint Base Balad near Balad, Iraq, and was also deployed by the British Army in southern Iraq.


Rafael Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) and Very Short Range Air Defense system (V-SHORAD) at static display Aero India 2013
  • Phalanx: 20mm LPWS (Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System), a land based variant of the US Navy's Phalanx Close-in weapon system;
  • Iron Dome: an Israeli missile system featuring multiple-target tracking and self-guided missile interceptors. Due to the ongoing increase of its engagement range and new missile and interception improvements, plus Surface-to-air missile capability, it has developed into a fully-fledged air defence system. By November 2012, the system had intercepted over 400 rockets fired into Israel by Gaza Strip militants. Based on operational success, defense reporter Mark Thompson estimates that Iron Dome is currently the most-effective and most-tested counter missile system in existence.[1]
  • Nächstbereichschutzsystem MANTIS: 35mm fully automated C-RAM system, produced by Rheinmetall based on Oerlikon's Skyshield and ordered by the German Air Force in use from 2011.
  • Porcupine: A typical Porcupine configuration for the Italian Army consists of four firing units, one central control post for target designation and weapon control and a 3D radar system "track while scan type" for surveillance and target tracking. Each remote firing unit consists of a 20 mm M61A1 Gatling cannon, its ammunition handling system and a stabilised optronic infra-red (IR) tracking system.[2]
  • DRACO: The DRACO is a multipurpose weapon station operating against Air, R.A.M. and Surface targets, designed for the Italian Army. The main armament consists of a high rate of fire 76/62mm gun with an automatic ammunition loading system; the 76/62mm gun is electrically controlled for elevation and traversing, and is stabilized in elevation. DRACO can be installed on 8x8 wheeled platforms, for combat support operations or convoy defence, as well as on tracked vehicles or on shelters for point defence. The main 76/62mm gun and the automatic loading system are fully compatible with all in service 76mm rounds and also with 76mm DART guided ammunition. DRACO can be completely controlled by two Operators (the Commander and the Gunner) from a remote position, located inside the hull for mobile installation or inside a protected command shelter for fixed installation.[3]


Raytheon is developing a laser-based variation where low cost focused lasers will provide increased range and decreased time-to-intercept over the gun. A proof of concept was demonstrated on a 60 mm mortar round in 2006.[4]

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is also building a laser-based variant known as the Iron Beam.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, Mark. "Iron Dome: A Missile Shield That Works". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "PORCUPINE C-RAM - DETAIL - Leonardo - Aerospace, Defence and Security". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "DRACO - DETAIL - Leonardo - Aerospace, Defence and Security". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "A Laser Phalanx?". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Royal Artillery Careers". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Other operational commitments are conducted (in the tertiary role) using C-RAM - a new and highly sensitive self defence system which destroys rockets and projectiles in flight. Applicable to Gunner Rapier applicants only. 
  6. ^ "16th Air Land Regiment, RAA". Australian Army. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Flugabwehrgruppe 61" [Air Defence Group 61] (in German). Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Retrieved 5 September 2017. 

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