Babcock International has been awarded a two year contract with the Ministry of Defence, for continuation of in-service support to the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS).

Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system and is the Royal Navy’s primary defence for ships against the threat of anti-ship missiles.

According to the firm, the £15m agreement will see Babcock continue in-service support to the system from specialised facilities at the Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth.

Babcock is responsible for technical support, upgrades, maintenance and ensuring operational availability of the Weapons Systems to the Royal Navy fleet on an Asset Availability Service basis.

Richard Drake, Managing Director, Babcock Defence Systems Technology, said:

“We are delighted to once again extend our role supplying in-service support that ensures the availability of the Royal Navy’s Phalanx weaponry. Using our global support capability and programme specific expertise built up over many years, we are well positioned to continue providing the Royal Navy with first class in-service support to its gunnery.”

Babcock has been a partner on the Phalanx CIWS programme since 2006, managing and executing all upkeep support activities, including a 24/7 helpdesk for the Royal Navy, as well as providing logistics support for spares and repairable units.

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tellmemore
tellmemore
2 months ago

While in the scheme of things this is not a huge expense, it would be useful for more info to be published to see if these types of maintenance contracts are cost effective. Navy Lookout estimates that the RN has 41 systems but as at Aug 20 only 19 were fitted for use. So the support contract works out at about £180K per system per year across all 41 or almost £400K per system per year if it only covers the 19 operational ones . The estimated cost for a new one is $5.6m. (One alternative might be to say… Read more »

pompeyblokeinoxford
pompeyblokeinoxford
2 months ago

Only two years?

Mike
Mike
2 months ago

I wonder, is it up to the task of shooting down the new generation of anti-ship missiles we are hearing much about these days, and also drone swarm attacks?

Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Nope, not really. Make a mess of a Somali pirates dhow though!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Why is it no use for drone swarms? Relatively slow moving, compared to a missile? Part of layering with the 30/40mm cannon which can BTW be fully linked to the ships CMS – open sourced from the manufacturers website! And the outer layer of Ceptor etc for high value targets. Bear in mind that ships radar can ‘type’ a target by things like blade/impeller rotation rates so it will be able to auto – asses the target type / value / risk / response. The days of only seeing a blob on a screen and maybe velocity/altitude/vector information are a… Read more »

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago

NCTR (Non Cooperative Target Recognition) has been around in fighter radars since the 80’s. Identifying aircraft types from it’s turbine blades basically at BVR ranges. Which is why S ducts in intake design has become so important.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Quite.

But it is now very, very sophisticated and able to look at other resultant interactions.

The point I was making is that a slow cheap drone will have been painted by a naval radar and identified / threat assessed / mitigation allocated way before it is near range of doing harm.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago

Completely agree. I wasn’t disputing your comment.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

“Why is it no use for drone swarms?”

It depends on drone swarm. If they remain out of Phalanx short range lobbing small missiles there is nothing it can do.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hi. I didn’t ask that question, somebody else did.

dan
dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

It can but depends on a lot of things like is it turned on, the direction it’s pointed in ect. I prefer the C-RAM though.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

What???? Phalanx has a built in surveillance radar, tracking radar, THIM and target threat analysis system. When it’s on its on and if in auto which it is in a no **tter war scenario it will shoot at anything that meets the threat scenarios. Hence when in auto you tell everyone else to keep clear or they will have a really bad day. In a high threat scenario you have man in the loop to stop firing, not initiate as to initiate is to slow. For any other scenario such as surface or lower threat you can track and identify… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I do wonder why we haven’t gone for C-RAM at least for the vessels that don’t have their own point defense missiles like the support / bays /albion etc.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The RN have some experience with SeaRAM,it was trialled on HMS York in 2001 but the System didn’t impress enough for it to be Fitted.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Yeah, but the question remains on why. Was the capability assessed as not a sufficient upgrade or did it come down to lack of funds.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Its hard to find a definitive answer on why it wasn’t taken forward ,the Trial was (a) Cut short as the System had to be returned before the expected length of the loan,and (b) No Missiles were actually Fired during the Trial – it seems that it was to have a Secondary Surface Attack mission on RN Ships ( like the Martlet/30mm combo) but its effectiveness was found to be marginal.Seeing as its not a Cheap System to Buy it might be the case that it didn’t offer enough advantage over the Phalanx Mount for the increased costs.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Perhaps the cold launch CAMM concept was already being considered as a future development with greater operational utility, i.e. 360° degree coverage, greater range and lower cost than SeaRAM. Its telling that the Canadian CSC is using CAMM for CIWS and not using either Phalanx or SeaRAM.

dan
dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The thing is that almost every ship that has been attacked with an ASM that had a Phalanx, that Phalanx was not turned on for some reason. The other times the ship did not maneuver to position the gun to get a direct shot at the incoming missile. Those aren’t the fault of the gun system but the crews fault.

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Jesus dan where there hell are you getting your examples from, fox news ? lol, well done Gunbuster really good to get a insight from a pro.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Realistically if an expensive system fails, you are going to try and pretend it didn’t, by giving such stories to the media. Its only when significant impacts are the failures occur (sinking of ships) and resulting public enquiries, when the real truth comes out.

AJP1960
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The problem is speed related. The faster the attacker is travelling towards a defended vessel, the more debris will still hit and debris (perhaps an intact warhead) travelling at hypersonic speed is still going to do a lot of kinetic damage. Perhaps degrading mission capability.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AJP1960

Speed is not the only factor. Crossing rate, flight height are also huge variables.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I guess you can also trade off a bit. Taking out the missile close by is going to do some minor dmg caused by kinetics, but hopefully not going to take out the whole ship. Possible a worthwhile trade off for a CIWS which ultimately is meant to be the last resort.

Dave G
Dave G
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

These are self defence rather than fleet defence weapons… Do you have much crossing rate if you are the target?

Billythefish
Billythefish
2 months ago

When they ”won” how many credible competitors are there…?

Marked
Marked
2 months ago

It’s the last ditch defence not the primary defence!

Primary is taking out the launch platform at range before it launches. Secondary is the anti air missile systems to take out an incoming missile at a safe range. Anything phalanx takes out as a last resort still poses a threat from high speed debris hitting the ship, it might not sink the ship but if all the mast and deck mounted kit is shredded it might as well be sank for all the use it will be.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

it might not sink the ship but if all the mast and deck mounted kit is shredded it might as well be sank for all the use it will be.”

Yeah maybe but surely that would be less likely than having a hoofing big missile plough into the ship, wee bits here and there are more likely than ALL the wee bits doing the same damage as that big missile. Just sayin’.

Marked
Marked
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

True its better than losing the entire ship . The point is though it is not the primary defence as stated in the article. If you are at the stage of relying on phalanx you are in trouble.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago
Reply to  Marked

I think we focusing on different points here Marked.

You seem to be taking umbrage that its called “primary defence” while I’m flagging up your example of a ship being “shredded” IF by some miracle all the wee bits of splattered missile ALL still seem to find their way to target. I find that scenario highly unlikely.

AJP1960
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

If you damage a ship you probably cause more disruption that sinking. Manpower used to fight fires, to treat injured, to evacuate the hull and possibly even tow to a port.

Same as a dead trooper is a dead trooper but an injured trooper takes 2 or more to recover and a whole medical division to treat.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago

This is something new to me?

 And it’s so fast that the air pressure in front of the weapon forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves and making it practically invisible to active radar systems.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

As an object travels above Mach 5 (> Mach 7 generally) and depending on a number of variables such as humidity and air density, along with the body’s shape; the nose of the object will develop the plasma first, as it goes faster and faster, the boundary layer over the rest of the body is converted to a plasma. The plasma is caused by a combination of friction between the air and the body, along with the pressure shock waves generated by the body’s shape, as it tries to push through the air. The heat generated literally strips away an… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Many thanks for this detailed explanation, it’s beginning to make a little more sense to me now!

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

And here’s an article with a reference that discusses why plasma sheath might not be the issue for all hypersonic bodies, per your point “… along with the body’s shape”. “The C-HGB [Common Hypersonic Glide Body], which was successfully test flown in 2011, 2017 and March 2020, has been able to communicate with ground stations, he says.” He in this case being Mike White, assistant director of hypersonics with the Pentagon. https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing/plasma-blackout-is-not-a-worry-for-usas-hypersonic-missiles-pentagon/138539.article Hypersonic cruise missiles operating at lower altitudes might have more issues with plasma generation as you say. However, your key observation IMO is that a third party targeting… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Physics works both ways. If plasma absorbs incoming radar then a missile cannot home with its own radar because that also gets absorbed by the plasma If its transmitting then EW will hear it and warn you… Very loudly! IR at high mach is iffy due to friction heating of the IR homing window. Funnily enough nobody seems to worry about this as being an issue when they rant about the threat of Hypersonic… AS6 Kingfish and AS4 Kipper which where and in the As 4s case still is, high Mach +4.5 missiles have been around since the 1960s. They… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thank you, that makes more sense!

GlynH
GlynH
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I’ve grown tired of explaining this point, thanks for saving me the effort this time around Gunbuster 🙂 Also worth mentioning that AS6’s etc. Mach 4+ speed is at attitude. As they dive in on target that Mach number drops sharply. 1. because the air density (so drag) increases and 2. because the speed of sound is higher the denser air gets so Mach numbers drop simply due to the math. An AS6’s terminal phase is Mach 3, give or take. Zircon will be about the same. The other point I often mention is that Phalanx spits out huge amounts… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  GlynH

USN choose to not put it in their new frigate. I think that tells you something about its value.
The Dutch dropped Goalkeeper – much more powerful than Phalanx – and choose Oto 76mm with guided rounds and RAM.

Last edited 2 months ago by AlexS
GlynH
GlynH
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

30mm, 20mm . . at those kind of closing speeds, grazing will do, direct hits game over either way, especially with seekers being fantastically vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong, 40mm+ has its place but just be careful about counting out Phalanx just because on paper 20mm is less. I am also not convinced about these guided rounds, all it takes is an erratic approach trajectory to ruin a guided round’s hit probable. 20mm, the closer you get the less you can manoeuvre and eventually that absurd stream of tungsten will make contact. It’s been mentioned further up about layered defences.… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  GlynH

Phalanx has an anti missile 1km range only, 40mm almost 3-4km , 76mm 7-8km

GlynH
GlynH
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Precisely my point, that last .5km of 300km attack run Phalanx will defo have the edge.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  GlynH

What is the point of that edge? It i too late…
There is a reason USN is ditching it.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  GlynH

The problem for Phalanx is its range in relation to faster missiles. Your example of 0.5 km engagement is ~0.5 seconds out from the ship for a Mach 3 missile. Even at 1.5 km out from the ship any deviation caused by the impact of a round is likely to have minimal effect in changing the course of the missile, due to the latter’s inertia. If lucky enough to cause missile detonation at these close ranges, then the ship is likely to suffer a shotgun blast of very high speed debris. Better than sinking for sure, but we need to… Read more »

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Interesting stuff. My two rands worth, read a American article ages ago claiming Phalanx would not cope with a sizeable swarm of small drones. Seems those evil commies are working on systems for drone swarms launched from submarines. Don’t know the truth in half of what we read on some sites but it could explain why it is not being thought about for future fitment.
I talked to an RA Major once about Rapiers difficulty in discriminating really small targets, maybe all radars have finite limits on improvement?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I have maintained Phalanx , Goalkeeper and 76mm Oto so I am well aware of the system capabilities. Its not just the size of your calibre that matters …its how you use it… Goalkeeper was a complex and heavy system with a huge below decks footprint, lots of cabinets and required a dedicated chilled water system. Lose one part….lose the system Oto is also heavy plus you need a seperate tracker to follow the target and pass the information to the gun and course corrected shells. Again you are adding complexity. Phalanx is all self contained on mount. It has… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

“So the USN is not putting it on a frigate …so what?
It has nothing to do with its capabilities as a system, its driven by the task evaluation of what the vessel will do. Dont be surprised if it does not appear in future.”

Can you really say that with a straight face?

By by your facetious “complexity” argument no missiles should be put on ships.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I can say that with a straight face because I have the experience of working on , using and knowing what various RN and some other nations systems are and for what and how they can be used. So take your argument further… if Phalanx is an issue why has it not been removed from all current USN vessels or all of the other nations vessels who use it? The reason is because it does a job as part of layered defence that may include long range, short range missiles soft kill decoys and CIWS. It is also in its… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I see the problem is much worse then, you can’t think non binary.
If someone criticize Phalanx as inferior to other systems for you it means it should be dropped from all ships it is on…

Don’t you see many legacy stuff till operating in civilian and military? I defy you to explain that…

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Japan’s latest warship has Phalanx.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

You really have no idea what you are talking about.
Have you any system engineering experience of working on or with weapon systems, radars, sonars, missile systems, gunnery systems EW or Comms?
If the answer is No I suggest you join the military as an engineer and get 30 + years experience on the systems , their performance and how they are used.
then you will be in a position to offer a valid point of view instead of looking it up on Wiki.

I am currently working on a USNS vessel that is over 40 years old…its all legacy.

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Brilliant.

James H
James H
2 months ago

There is some brilliant comments on here from some some very knowledgeable people, i was just wondering why the type 31s will get the 40mm and not these and if that is seen as the way forward why is there no plan to to the 40mms on other ships.
Furthermore why couldn’t the type 31s not have both phalanx and 40mm

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  James H

For other ships reason is money.
Phalanx is on way out so not put into Type 31.Besides they are not made by BAE…

“Furthermore why couldn’t the type 31s not have both phalanx and 40mm”

No space.

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Plenty of space. Issue I suspect is more about cash v marginal utility given 2 x 40mm and CAMM (Canadians selected CAMM as point defence on their Type 26)

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

Where you would put them?comment image

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

2 on wings staggered in front / behind funnels in similar configuration to t45 and original T26 concept or 1 adjacent to CAMM between radar mast and funnels. ….but I understand why they won’t value them given the patrol frigate role and, hopefully, a reasonable CAMM load out.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

Behind funnel you are blocking stern 40 partial firing arc. You need also strength for 7 ton weight.Near CAMM you risk getting them burned by the missile. They will certainly fire to bow or stern via sides unless the target is high

I don’t think will not get more CAMM, unless there is some kind of war.

Last edited 2 months ago by AlexS
pete
pete
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

CAMM = Soft Launch. Burn risk mitigated. in the 2 x unit option I did state on wings…look at T45 images.. . Not so sure the Arc comment is valid as there comes a point when you start shooting up funnel structures etc as well and you have 40mm options at Stern and Bow plus 57mm at Bow. Anyway. Going pack to original point. Its not a space issue. The vessel is large for its planned fit out. The lack of Phalanx is not a space issue…its what fit out for the fixed price budget. In terms of CAMM load… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  pete

It’s 12. The comment saying 8 was a typo.

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Cheers Ron

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  pete

It just depend the flight profile for short range interception, but the soft launch looks good.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Ships move… When under attack you do not stop moving. You up revs and manouver hard, very hard… In a situation where you are under attack you prioritise weapon arcs. Ceptor doesn’t need arcs being a soft launch active homer which is a huge plus over other missile systems. You will still need to open up the arcs for guns or soft kill. The battle management systems will provide the advice on that to the CO. The Capt will also considering his immediate tasking, his system states both mechanical and weapon, his Stealth profile and the threat he is facing.… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

That depends on detection range and missile speed.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I’m sure where there is a will there will be a way and space would be found. To me phalanx on the t31 seems like a good match, since its low missile load is likely to be overwhelmed pretty quickly and having a backup that can cover the back half of the ship seems essential (i’m assuming its main guys can provide a degree of air defence for the frontal arc).

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

There’s been a model displayed by Babcock’s of the Type 31 with Phalanx. Two units were fitted on either side of the hangar roof. That arrangement is available for export orders.