Goalkeeper CIWS

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Goalkeeper CIWS
Goalkeeper CIWS on a British Invincible-class aircraft carrier
Type Close In Weapons System
Place of origin Netherlands
Service history
In service 1980–present
Used by See operators
Production history
Designer Signaal (now Thales Nederland)
Designed 1975
Manufacturer Thales Naval Netherlands
Produced 1979
Weight 6,372 kg (14,048 lb) with 1,190 rds of ammunition (above deck); 9,902 kg (21,830 lb) (total), assuming 1 g.
Height 3.71 m (above deck) 6.2 m (including deck penetration).
Crew Automated, with human oversight

Shell 30×173mm TP, HEI, MPDS, or FMPDS
Caliber 30 mm
Barrels 7-barrel (progressive RH parabolic twist, 14 grooves)
Elevation +85 to −25 degrees at 80 degree/s
Traverse Unlimited
Rate of fire 70 rounds/second (4,200 rounds/minute)
Muzzle velocity 1,109 m/s (MPDS round)
Effective firing range 350 to between 1,500 and 2,000 meters dependent on ammunition

1 x GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm seven-barrel Gatling gun

Goalkeeper is a Dutch close-in weapon system (CIWS) introduced in 1979. It is an autonomous and completely automatic weapon system for short-range defence of ships against highly maneuverable missiles, aircraft and fast maneuvering surface vessels. Once activated the system automatically undertakes the entire air defense process from surveillance and detection to destruction, including selection of the next priority target.


Development of the system began in 1975 with Holland-Signaal (now Thales Nederland) working with General Dynamics, which supplied the GAU-8 gun. A prototype, the EX-83, was first demonstrated to the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1979.

In 2012 the Dutch ministry of defense announced that the Goalkeeper systems in use by the Netherlands Navy will receive radar upgrades, mechanical improvements, new high-precision frangible ammunition and a new electro-optical tracking system. Also the system's surface mode will be improved to counter high speed boats and fast attack craft. These upgrades will make the system more capable to defend ships against the latest threats such as modern anti-ship missiles, more effective in littoral environments and less vulnerable to malfunctions. It also expands the life of the system to at least 2025. The first of 16 systems will be upgraded and tested by Thales Nederland, the others at the naval base in Den Helder.[1]


Target selection[edit]

Goalkeeper has two radar sub-systems, one to find threats and another to track and engage them, which operate together to identify and prioritise targets, and engage the highest priority one.

The 2D I band search radar, which can handle up to 18 targets at once, generates a threat picture which the gun system uses to identify and prioritize threats. The system has identify friend or foe (IFF) functionality to rule out friendly traces.[2] The tracking radar operates in both I band and K band to enable quick acquisition on the threat bearing. Data from both the I band and K band return signals indicate target range and can be used to identify, and respond to the use of, electronic countermeasures (ECM). The dual band system also reduces the effect of clutter, which can mask the target at low altitude. A camera system on the assembly provides a visual fallback for the system operator.

A target hit by Goalkeeper - this target was hit six times during a one-second burst of 70 rounds

Target engagement[edit]

The GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm Gatling gun, as used by the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, was selected for the system. The 30x173mm cartridge has a greater projectile mass than the 20x102mm cartridge fired by the Phalanx CIWS M61 Vulcan, so it provides much greater destructive power with similar muzzle velocity but significantly reduced range.

The 30x173mm MPDS cartridge has a discarding nylon sleeve (sabot) with a 21 mm sub-calibre tungsten penetrator. The nylon sabot provides a seal between penetrator and barrel, and reduces wear.

The tracking radar is capable of monitoring the line of fire and commanding minor adjustments.

Supersonic missiles that are damaged may still have enough momentum to hit the ship—the only way to ensure the protection of the ship is either to detonate the warhead of the missile or obliterate the missile.

The system's reaction time to a Mach 2 sea-skimming missile such as the Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn from automatic detection to kill is reported to be 5.5 seconds with the firing synchronized to start the engagement at a range of 1,500 m and ending with a kill at 300 m.[2]

Operational history[edit]

Goalkeeper’s capabilities have been proven many times during sea-going trials. During live-fire exercises, many different targets including Harpoons, Exocets and target drones were shot down by Goalkeeper. During anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia the system destroyed several pirate boats and skiffs that had been seized by the Royal Netherlands Navy.[3]

Comparison with current CIWS[edit]

Comparison of some modern CIWS
Russia AK-630[4] Russia AK-630M1-2[5] United States Phalanx CIWS[6] Netherlands Goalkeeper CIWS Italy DARDO[7]
Mass 9,114 kg (20,093 lb) 11,819 kg (26,056 lb) 6,200 kg (13,700 lb) 9,902 kg (21,830 lb) 5,500 kg (12,100 lb)
Armament 30 mm (1.2 in) 6-barreled GSh-6-30 Gatling gun 30 mm (1.2 in) 2 * 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 Avenger Gatling gun 40 mm (1.6 in) 2-barreled Bofors 40 mm
Rate of fire (rounds per minute) 5,000 10,000 4,500 4,200 600/900
(Effective/ flat-trajectory) range 4,000 m (13,000 ft) 4,000 m (13,000 ft) 3,600 m (11,800 ft) 2,000 m (6,600 ft) 4,000 m (13,000 ft)
Ammunition storage (rounds) 2,000 4,000 1,550 1,190 736
Muzzle velocity (per second) 900 m (3,000 ft) 900 m (3,000 ft) 1,100 m (3,600 ft) 1,109 m (3,638 ft) 1,000 m (3,300 ft)
Elevation (degrees) −12 to +88° −12 to +88° −25 to +85° −25 to +85° −13 to +85°
Traverse (degrees) 360° 360° 360° 360° 360°


  • Gun: GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm seven-barrel rotary cannon.
  • Height: 3.71 m (above deck) 6.2 m (including deck penetration).
  • Weight: 6,372 kg with 1,190 rds of ammunition (above deck), 9,902 kg (total).
  • Elevation +85° to −25° at 80°/s.
  • Muzzle velocity: 1,109 m/s (MPDS round).
  • Rotation speed 360° in 3.8 seconds
  • Rate of fire: 70 rounds/second (4,200 rounds/minute).
  • Maximum burst size: 1,000 rounds.
  • Ammunition: 1,190 linkless (HEI, API, TP, MPDS, FMPDS) rounds in a below-deck magazine.
  • Reload time: 9 minutes (loading is done below deck)
  • Weapons range: 350 to between 1,500 and 2,000 meters dependent on ammunition.
  • Search radar: I band/linear array. I band is X band. Beamsize 1.5 degrees horizontal, 60 degrees vertical. Rotates at 1 Hz (60 RPM). Range approx. 30 km.
  • Engagement radar: I band and K band monopulse cassegrain.
  • Optical system: TV (Future EO/IR)
  • 100% kill distance: 500 m[citation needed]


Map of Goalkeeper operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]


  1. ^ [1] article from Thales Nederland
  2. ^ a b Goalkeeper CIWS at the Royal Netherlands Navy LCF Frigate information page
  3. ^ "Tromp ontwapent piraten", Nieuws [News] (in Dutch), NL: Marineschepen .
  4. ^ "267 AK-630 Gatling gun close in weapon system", Navy, Indian military .
  5. ^ "Roy", Naval, RU: Guns .
  6. ^ Data, US: Navy .
  7. ^ "WNIT 4cm-70 Breda", Weapons, Nav weaps .

External links[edit]