maybe im just late to know, but when i was reading up on some american cruisers, most of them are equipped with an active defense system capable of knocking out over 100 projectiles out of the air at a time. idk how the hell that works but it sounds damn awesome
Since you’re talking about cruisers, it must be the Ticonderoga-class:
And yes, she can engage that many targets as once, as she packs:
USS Midway (CV-41) and battleship USS Iowa, (BB-61) in Persian Gulf on December 1987. The Iowa was recommissioned and refitted with RGM-84 Harpoon, BGM-109 Tomahawk, and Phalanx CIWS system capabilities, and up armoured against anti-ship missiles.
Close-In Weapons Systems, abbreviated CIWS and commonly pronounced “See-Whiz”, are a class of point-defense weapons used primarily to destroy incoming missiles. There are three types, gun systems, missile systems and laser systems. CIWS can also be used for offensive purposes and while these systems are most commonly mounted on ships, they can also be used to defend bases, airfields or even cities.
The guns system is the most common type of CIWS. Gun type CIWS use a rapid firing rotary weapon and a radar system to track, shoot at and destroy enemy targets. CIWS guns usually range from 20mm to 40mm guns. The operation is relatively simple in theory, the radar picks up an incoming missile, lays the gun on the missile and then, when the missile comes within range, the gun fires and shoots the missile out of the sky. While simple in theory, in practice, things get a little tougher. First off, while CIWS guns typically have a very high rate of fire, 5,000 rounds per minute for the Russian AK-630 30mm gun, the guns have a relativity short range, only 4,000 metres for the AK-630.
Because most Anit-Ship Missiles are supersonic during their final sprint to the target, CIWS only have a few seconds between when the target comes into range and when it impacts the ship. Most CIWS systems expect to destroy a missile at 500 metres, which is still close enough to damage a ship or kill personnel. Another disadvantage is that while hitting a target with a straight trajectory might prove relatively easy, some AShMs, such as the Russian 3M-54 Klub Nato reporting name “Sizzler”, are designed to jink about right above the surface of the water as they approach their target.
This type of erratic movement can be all but impossible for a gun based CIWS system to successfully target. A third problem is that, even if a hit is scored, the missile may not be completely destroyed as some CIWS systems, like the American Phalanx CIWS use kinetic energy projectiles. Lastly, the CIWS can only engage one target at a time, with re-training taking as much as one second, a lot of time in a supersonic battle against the clock. This problem is solved by equipping each ship with multiple CIWS systems and having multiple ships with overlapping fields of fire. CIWS systems can also be used for defending land based installations. The American C-RAM is a modification of the Phalanx CIWS that has been used to defend bases in Iraq from rockets and mortars.
Missile systems are utilized throughout the world in conjunction with gun based CIWS. Missiles use a combination of ship based radar and other detection systems, and detection systems mounted on the missiles to target, close with and destroy incoming AShMs.
Missiles have several advantages over gun systems including their longer range and their ability to be course-corrected after they have been launched. Additionally, because missiles carry a large explosive load, a direct hit is not necessary to destroy a target. Missile systems are not without their flaws however. Systems such as the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow and the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) are far more limited in terms of ammunition than guns, and cannot engage targets at extreme close range.
Additionally, missiles can be jammed or confused by counter-measures while bullets are dumb enough to do exactly as they’re told. As a result of these various strengths and weaknesses, most ships have a combination of these systems. Ground based missile systems include the famous Israeli Iron Dome.
Because laser systems are such a new and developing technology, details are largely C L A S S I F I E D. However, what we do know is that the a single weapons system has been deployed to the Mediterranean aboard the USS Ponce and has been used against drone targets in a public demonstration.
The weapon works like a gun CIWS but, obviously, it uses lasers. The laser can be targeted with extreme accuracy and the output can be changed so that the weapon can used to do everything from temporarily blinding a human to frying a drone (or missile or jet fighter) from the inside out. The system, in my opinion, looks quite promising. Initial tests have been very successful and the weapon has, theoretically, unlimited ammunition. While the US Laser Weapons System (LaWS) has already been deployed, the Israeli Iron Beam is currently in development over at Rafael, with an unknown time frame for deployment.
Prediction for the Future
I had a conversation about CIWS and the future of naval warfare about a year ago with my Naval Sci Professor who, at the time, was a Commander in the USN. Basically what he said was that the navy was not very confident in the ability of its CIWS systems to protect against the type of mass AShM attack that would be deployed by a country like Russia or China. CIWS has proven to be effective against a small number of targets but when you have literally hundreds of AShMs coming in from different angles, and even hypersonic projectiles from Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles under development in China, these systems can quickly become overwhelmed. Additionally, with the ongoing development of rail guns, whose projectiles would have extremely high inertia, not be vulnerable to lasers and be far more stealthy than a missile, current CIWS may be largely ineffective against the Anti-Ship weapons of the future. [X MAJOR SPECULATION AHEAD X] MAYBE, in the future, we could POTENTIALLY see a return of the battleship, mounting batteries of rail guns, the battleships COULD MAYBE rely on heavy belts of armour to defend themselves rather than electronic systems. In this case, aircraft carriers COULD no longer be the flagships of the fleet, replaced MAYBE by large battleships. I sincerely think that modern naval vessels are simply too vulnerable to modern and near-future anti-ship weaponry, and while CIWS is fine for killing Silkworms launched by third world countries, any future high-intensity conflict will be fought in a way which the navy is not used to fighting. IDK honestly, I am very interested in hearing any opinions on this topic, so feel free to message me about it.
Ask me questions, tell me why my theories are stupid, tell me what you liked/didn’t like, suggest future topics. Pulse Jets and Modern Tank Rounds currently on deck for publishing. Thinking about doing parasite fighters as well. Gonna talk to some Aerospace Profs at Uni about Radial vs Inline engines. I might be touring the Lockheed production line this semester so I will probably write something about that.
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Wanthal and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Judah Burton load the Close-in Weapons System (CiWS) aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown. Germantown’s armament is complete with two 25mm MK 38 Machine Guns; two 20mm Phalanx CiWS mounts, six .50 cal. machine guns and two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) mounts.