The US Department of State has approved a request by the United Kingdom to purchase 50 upgrade kits for the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System, the Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a press release on Thursday.

The Defense Department explained that the proposed sale also includes support equipment, test equipment, spare parts, technical documentation, training and engineering technical assistance. The notice of the proposed sale reads:

“The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has requested to buy fifty (50) MK 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) Block IB Baseline 2 Upgrade Kits.  Also included are support equipment, test equipment, initial spare parts, technical documentation, training, and engineering technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The total estimated program cost is $75 million.

This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues.

The proposed sale of the Phalanx Baseline 2 Radar Upgrade Kits will be used for close-in ship self-defense against air and surface threats onboard the UK’s naval combatants and auxiliaries.  The UK, which already has earlier versions of the MK 15 Phalanx in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these upgrades and support into its armed forces.”

The Phalanx weapon system is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided machine gun that can defeat anti-ship missiles and other close-in threats that have penetrated other lines of defence, according to the manufacturer Raytheon.

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Estados Unidos aprueba venta de 50 kits de actualización para los Phalanx Block IB del Reino Unido | DFNS.net en EspañolGunbusterDaveybHelionsDaniele Mandelli Recent comment authors
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Peter Crisp
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Peter Crisp

I have no idea how militarily effective this kit is but it certainly looks like it does the business when it’s firing a wall of bullets into the air.
Are these ever used against ground targets as they could certainly ruin the day of anything smaller than a main battle tank.

farouk
Guest
farouk

Peter wrote:
Are these ever used against ground targets as they could certainly ruin the day of anything smaller than a main battle tank.

The only land use CIWS have been used for until now ( That I know of) is Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (CRAM)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7rc7U61B5E

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

At Basra against incoming rockets I think??

farouk
Guest
farouk

Daniele wrote:
“At Basra against incoming rockets I think??

Here’s one that DJ made earlier…

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/3604-2/

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Ahhh thank you farouk.

Before my time here I think.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

They where at Bastion as well .
It did annoy some very senior Army NCOs that laid back , chilled out RN Chief Tiff’s did not have the correct military bearing for doing the maintainer/operators job in theater.

David Taylor
Guest
David Taylor

The only problem with Phalanx is the calibre of the gun as 20mm doesn’t allow for the fitting of more exotic fuses as in say a 30mm or 35mm or larger.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

It doesn’t have fuses. it has a kinetic penetrator.

David Taylor
Guest
David Taylor

Oh FFS I have know a site where people read what they want to read to score f*cking points.

Right let’s have a look at what I said shall we?

The only problem with Phalanx – this indicates that perhaps Phlanax is good but it has problem

is the calibre of the gun – this specifies the area where the problem (might be found)

as 20mm doesn’t allow for the fitting FOR THE FITTING OF ….FUSES……..

I have done with this place.

HF
Guest
HF

David – a bit OTT, perhaps ?

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) David – close the door on your way out.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Wow….?

Gfor
Guest
Gfor

Actually you said ‘for the fitting of more exotic fuses’, clearly implying the existence of standard fuses.
No need for the nastiness after a helpful correction don’t you think?

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

??

My reading of it is that you implied that Phalanx had a 20mm round fitted with a fuse.
My answer is that it doesn’t…it has a Kinetic Penetrator.

If you are saying that firing an AHEAD type round would be an advantage then yes it probably would but in my experience only standard cannons get AHEAD rounds…fitting a round programmer to rotating barrels on a gatling gun is not feasible.

Just saying…

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Hi Peter the F35B carries this gun I believe

Callum
Guest
Callum

Nope. Most earlier American jets use the M61 Vulcan used on the Phalanx, but the F-35s will be carrying 25mm cannons either built in or in optional gun pods

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Callum – ..and as we speak courtesy of a certain Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/cencio4/status/1043172250336120833

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Chris H, Will this compromise the F35’s stealth capabilities? or has this been fitted purely for the purpose of testing the gun?

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Nigel – I am no expert but given wing pylon loaded weapons / fuel tanks tend to negate any radar advantage I am guessing that a big gun pod will do the same. It will certainly be heavy and add drag. It is worrying it has to be externally mounted on the F-35B and F-35C although the Harrier carried two cannons in external underslung pods but Typhoon has a big Mauser BK27 27mm calibre cannon embedded in the Starboard wing root http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/Typhoon/Images/Typhoon_ZJ924_12462.jpg Having said that I know F-35As have their The GAU-22/A cannon in an embedded pod on… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Thank you!

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins
Ron
Guest
Ron

Used at Basra air base in the Gulf war, taken from our ships. Google it, turns out they were very effective in that scenario.

James
Guest
James

Hopefully this is just an order to cover the current fleet rather than the fleet post ~2025. Between the Type 45, Type 26, Albion, and Queen Elizabeth classes, a total of 34 Phalanx units are accounted for. If you fit a unit to each of the Type 31e class that leaves a total of 9 units remaining. Those units then need to be spread between all the (amazingly high value and mission critical) ships of the RFA. In practical terms, without more units the Naval Service will have to swap out Phalanx units between ships at refit in order to… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Actually I got my numbers slightly wrong: the Type 45, Type 26, Albion, and Queen Elizabeth classes between them acount for 38 units. So once you’ve armed the Type 31e, there are only 7 Phalanx units left over.

David Taylor
Guest
David Taylor

Does that include ships in de-refit?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Too few. Given the relatively cheap cost and importance of CIWS compared to the billions spent then tens of millions more should be added to ensure the Bays, the Tides, the Forts, Argus, should all be equipped as standard.

No FFBNW.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Indeed.

The current frigate fleet doesn’t use Phalanx, but future ships will. The current inventory is enough to cover all ships in both the RN and RFA fitted to receive it, but we shouldn’t reduce this capability with the frigates. Purchase new units for them.

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Edit: I’ve heard various sources for how many Phalanx units the UK currently has. Anything from 41-48. Even so, additional units are needed – they’re cheap for the protection they provide.

A bit like dedicated AEW helicopters (and additional ASW, Junglies)…

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

Will the QE Class get this system? As yet I can’t see one on QE, though she is not fully commissioned so their fit must be planned before that date?

Lusty
Guest
Lusty

Yes, each carrier will have three units, alongside four 30mm cannons. Neither are fitted as of yet.

Tim
Guest
Tim

So our QE’s will have 20mm Phalanx, 25mm on the F35’s and 30mm DS30B guns. Many other ships also have 30mm plus 114 (with new ones having 76 or 127), our Typhoons have 27mm, our new Scout IFV will carry 40mm and our Apaches have the short 30mm. The RA also have 105 and 155 and the infantry have 9mm, 5.56, 7.62, 8.58 and 12.7mm.

Isn’t that too many types? Could we standardise on say 127mm for RN and RA, have 40mm cannon for CIWS and smaller ships and IFVs, and have 25mm for Apache, F35 and Typhoon?

RichardB
Guest
RichardB

About $1.5m per kit. Presumably fitting and testing the upgrade will be extra. What does a brand new mount cost – $6m? The order seems to cover every Phalanx system in the UK’s inventory, and implies that all are now at the Block 1B standard – which wasn’t previously clear. I wonder if anything remains of the original Block 0’s hurriedly purchased for HMS Illustrious back in 1982! RFA’s only get Phalanx if deploying to a region with at least a moderate threat level. If you assume about a third of the surface warships are also non-operational (1 QEC, 1… Read more »

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

RN Goalkeeper was tied in to the Dutch Navy using Spey GTs on their ships. As we have now removed Goalkeeper from our ships I guess that the Speys are off the Dutch vessels. Pity, because I have worked with Phalanx and Goalkeeper and Goalkeeper is a far superior system. However its big, heavy, has deck penetration and is complex compared to Phalanx which are all reasons that where considered when the decision was made for it to be removed. I wonder whats going to happen to the GAU 8 cannons? They would be a nice addition to a C130… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Gun busters

Could these not be put on RFA vessels and left there. Seems a waste to me

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

the goalkeeper system was too heavy

Marc
Guest
Marc

Lets hope they buy spare barrels.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

That haunting attack alarm noise, just there to remind you to pull your sleeping bag up over your face for added protection.

BV

Chris
Guest
Chris

Not sure the cost figure in the article is accurate as the US DSCA released this notice as required by US Law governing foreign military sales. They say its worth $137 Mn. But whatever its good to see the MoD updating what we have regardless of if we need more

http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/united-kingdom-mk-15-phalanx-close-weapon-system-ciws-block-1b-baseline-2

antidote
Guest
antidote

How come we’ve never gone down the route of a combined gun and missile CIWS, i.e. like the Russians with their Kashtan?

I presume it has something to do with the Kashtan being so heavy and presumably needing to penetrate the the ship hull.

Still, especially the Russians seem to fit out their ships with a lot more CIWS, although I don’t now how effective it is.

Aimless
Guest
Aimless

The US went that route on their carriers and larger amphibs. They actually have a triple layer defense, 2x ESSM 8 missile launchers, 2x RIM 116 missile launcher, 2x phalanx. Surely the RN could afford to at least put a similar defense layer on the QE class. Madness to spend billions of pounds on a single asset yet refuse to spend a few extra million on a real point defense system. A couple of phalanx won’t cut it.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

I have discussed this before. Sticking extra weapons on Aircraft Capable ships adds a whole layer of defense and a whole layer of other issues that compromise ship and aircraft safety. The issue are such things as FOD and safe fly lanes. The trials conducted on an LPD proved that the sabot from the CIWS shells would have destroyed any aircraft on deck and severely injured any of the flight deck crew that where hit by the plastic sabot or the aluminium pusher pads. If you want to add missiles to the mix as well it would make things worse.… Read more »

antidote
Guest
antidote

I realise that ships have layered defence, but I was wondering why we have never tried to make an actual combined gun/missile system like the Kashtan. Are there pluses to it?

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

In some respects its not needed and may actually complicate matters depending on how the Kashtan prioritises threats. This is because the Kashtan combines the missiles and guns on the one mounting. There must be a clearly defined point where the guns takes over from the missiles as the guns must be cued on to the target. The missiles which are 9M311, which are a derivative of the SA19 and originally used SACLOS line of sight command guidance. The more modern system uses both radar tacking and guidance being able to engage at least 6 targets. The missile has a… Read more »

Worried
Guest
Worried

Not related, but why does south Korea get 6 P-8 for 2 billion dollars and uk pays so much more. Ridiculous we wait 10 years. MOD cull 10,000 pen pushers and invest in what matters.

Aimless
Guest
Aimless

The details are in the contract. The purchase price you may have seen for the UK could have included training, maintenance, weapons, sensors, spares etc. whereas the South Korean version may have been for just the aircraft.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

The detail will be in the contract. The UK cost will be for spares and support over a fixed period. I suspect the the ROK contract does not include spares or support. So if it goes wrong you pay there and then to get it fixed and the cost of the spares there and then.
Simple analogy is a plumber…if you prior book him in or have a pre-existing service plan in place its a lot cheaper than giving him an emergency call out on a Saturday evening…

Julian
Guest
Julian

What did we pay? I thought it was was £2bn for 9 which doesn’t sound too far adrift from $2bn for 6, in fact cheaper, but maybe I’m totally misremembering the UK price. I’d be grateful if someone could correct me as necessary although, as mentioned above, I realise the prices are pretty impossible to decode anyway without knowing exactly what extras beyond the core product are included in the price.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

contrary to popular belief, just because an organisation is governement owned does not mean you can remove all the pen pushers, these generally being people like: experts on procurement, planning, decision makers, admin people ect. Unless you feel it would be a good use of uniformed service people’s time to retrain and focus on procurement law etc. The NHS get the same, this strange belief that you should just have frontline staff, forgetting that how the hell will you pay them, ensure you have the right number of brain surgeons vs OBGs, qualified nurses vs health care assistants, correct number… Read more »

Mr Bell
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Mr Bell

The NHS (and I work in the frontline and gave proudly done so for 20+ years since demob) should do a simple exercise. Get all the clinical staff who actually put hands on and treat patients to identify the support staff they need to deliver their job. Simple. That way you would have receptionists, ward clerks, payroll, HR staff, recruitment staff etc but crucially one hell of a lot less managers. Just look at some statistical evidence NHS inpatient beds Vs numbers of managers, flow managers, and none jobs. Beds have gone down, capacity reduced and the answer to the… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) For all the purchasing and supply people in the NHS can someone in that service explain why there are huge differences in the price each NHS Trusts pay for the same items used across England and Wales (I will leave Scotland to the SNP)? Indeed why is purchasing still split across individual Trusts? Two examples provided by The Department of Health as far back as 2014 said some trusts pay over 135% more for certain products: * 2Gether NHS Foundation pays £4.34 for 80mg white paper, Moorfields Eye Hospital pays just £1.84. * Newcastle Tyne and Wear pays… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Simply Chris the NHS is not as most people believe a single organisation it is instead a very large number of diverse organisations that have a contract to deliver health services, this allows them to use the NHS logo. Many of these organisations are statutory in nature and “owned by the state” you will see these described as NHS Foundation trusts, they are each legally and actually a singular state owned organisation, they have a contract to run services, employ their own staff and are financially independent. They tend to be acute ambulance services and acute hospitals ( both district… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Mr Bell I do respect where you are coming from, because I’ve been there and had that view. but the person I am now with my experiences just don’t not agree with you on this. I Spent most of my clinical time time in cancer wards and then as charge nurse in ED putting people back together( at that point in my professional development I would have agreed with you) , but I,ve worked from kitchen assistant in a big acute, nursing assistant in a elderly mental health nursing home, Childrens hospice as an RN, ED acute nurse and charge… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

I agree that the NHS is one of those systems that is bigger and more complex than many realise, and like defence probably also has the waters muddied on occasion by bad media reporting, but I do have sympathy with Chris H’s observations about the differing prices paid across health trusts and failure to exploit potentially massive economies of scale. Is the breakup of the NHS into regional trusts hindering some aspects of its operation by making it more difficult to exploit economies of scale, increased numbers of top-of-the-pyramid director-level management grades for things like each trust’s IT director, HR… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Jonathan – Thanks for a very informative and understandable set of points. But in that description you actually make my point for me. Now I am not going to venture into ‘privatisation’ per se as it is hugely political and therefore emotional. But the fact that the ‘NHS’ is so very split up into desperate parts does not of itself defeat my argument. In fact it supports my belief that private purchasing and logistics expertise could bring huge savings to all parts of the NHS if, as you clearly define, there are many smaller component parts that simply… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Typo alert:
‘disparate’ not ‘desperate’

Oscar Brown
Guest
Oscar Brown

Phalanx – 6 x 20mm barrels, 4,500 rpm
Type 1130 – 11 x 30mm barrels, 10,000 rpm
‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’?
Nah

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

It is very good that we are getting the upgrade for the CIWS. It will have added value as the new CIWS radar picture can be added to the ship’s radar picture to give added coverage.

The upgrade offers better performance in findding and killing very low level targets, from boats to sea skimmers.

This is good news.

Rob

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

No radar picture to the ships systems .
Its all stand alone.
All you get on the command system is a line indicating the engagement bearing line.

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

I read that on the T45 the radar picture was fully fused with the combat management system.

My source is the Haynes T45 manual that was done with the help of the RN and is RN badged.

It may be on other ships there is no fused picture as you say.

Rob

Rob

Julian
Guest
Julian

Has the RN ever looked seriously at adopting SeaRAM? I believe it goes on the same mount.

How do they compare in terms of effectiveness and typical number of intercepts? 11 intercept attempts for SeaRAM obviously but not sure what the estimate would be for Phalanx before the ammo was exhausted.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Looked at and trialed on HMS York in 2001. It did not move forward and was removed. It wasn’t as good as everyone thought. I was on one of the first T42s to get Phalanx. That was the basic model. Even then in the mid to late 80s we, (The Weapon Engineering Dept) worked out how to connect the phalanx mount to the DAS sight via a simple syncro chain. The DAS sight was a sit on powered gun direction sight for the 4.5 Gun that was fitted with a then state of the art new fangled Thermal Imager! This… Read more »

Ali
Guest
Ali

Out of interest does anyone know what happened to the RN’s Goalkeepers? We should have a least a dozen of them hanging around somewhere. As most will know it uses the GAU 8 (as per A-10). I was told many moons ago that it was preferred choice over Phalanx as more accurate. We had second hand Phalanx (weight issue and no space for anything else) for the 42’s. (As these are upgrade kits it means some of them could be the ones originally fitted to the 42’s?) 23’s were meant to have Goalkeeper fore and aft HMG baulked at cost… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

No idea.

As mentioned many times by Gunbuster Phalanx is easier to fit as its bolted on where’s Goalkeeper is not. Maybe it would be too difficult to fit them?

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Once fitted though Daniele we would just leave it on. It’s better than having nothing on the Tides for instance, andI am sure the Dutch could help us maintain.

I am all for standardisation, but also dont like useful things collecting dust, when we dont have enough of the standardised equipment to go round.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

It is fascinating that we have to standardise because we cannot possibly have more than one type of weapon.
What? We have a Big defence budget, it should be bigger , but surely it is big enough to support retaining effective weapons like goalkeeper on some of our most important auxiliaries like the Bay and Tide class.
We definetly should have more of these vital weapon systems. I would like to see critical defence and national infrastructure defended or at least have the option of being defended by a fleet of 36-48 phalanx flat bed truck mounted systems.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

No good point Pacman.

Do we even have them still? No idea.

Rob C
Guest
Rob C

Ali, I think you’ve heard some good dits but they’ve become embellished over the years. Phalanx liked to track up the tow wire of the Rushton which could leave it out of ammunition whilst the Rushton was still inbound! I think Newcastle took a Rushton hit in this way. In the first Gulf War after Gloucester took down the first Silkworm, the Missouri fired off a heap of chaff. The Perry class frigate escorting Missouri had ‘freed’ her Phalanx. Unfortunately the Yank Phalanx saw the Yank chaff and decided to engage it! Missouri was hit by some friendly fire!

Rob C
Guest
Rob C

Ali, over the years the dits have become embellished. Phalanx used to love tracking up the Rushton towing cable. Trouble was that it would run out of ammunition leaving the Rushton free flying towards the ship. I think Newcastle was hit by a Rushton in this way. In the first Gulf War, Gloucester shot down the Sikworm with Sea Dart. Missouri fired off chaff – just in case. The Perry class frigate had ‘freed’ its Phalanx. The Phalanx saw the Chaff and fired at it. Missouri took some friendly fire!

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Both systems are famous for shooting up tow wires. A few weeks after the T42 I was on had succesfully completed a phalanx Shoot and acceptance of the system, a T42 (If I remember correctly, the one named after a NE City) was tracking and shooting at a low level height keeper rushton target…The phalanx then tracked the wire and parted it. As the tow aircraft had the wrong approach profile the LLHK, instead of passing ahead of the ship, then proceeded inboard into one of the GT intakes. Much smoke ensued due to the fact that the tracking flares… Read more »

Ali
Guest
Ali

Shame we did not get the Koreans (who have lots of Goalkeepers) to fit the new RFA’s ‘for but not with’ and then put our old units (if we still have them) into the space. The extensive refit Falmouth have had to do to each one could have included it.

HF
Guest
HF

Will it counter the new Russian missile which does a sharp pull up and dives onto the target ?

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Hi;

Phalanx 1A was capable of hitting missiles with a pop-up terminal phase. The 1B baseline 2 is even better at this.

Rob

HF
Guest
HF

Rob – thanks.

Chris
Guest
Chris

I always thought the goalkeeper was better than the phalanx, I remember seeing crews reload the phalanx on a 42 as opposed to a magazine feed below for the goalkeeper.

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Still need to reload it even if its below decks.

Captain P Wash
Guest
Captain P Wash

I would welcome any Operational Upgrade to Phalanx over My old Ships Version. Impressive as It Was.

John Hartley
Guest
John Hartley

Some years ago, Oerlikon offered a 25mm KBD upgrade of the Phalanx. The bigger 25mm rounds stood more of a chance against new Russian/Chinese supersonic anti ship missile. The KBD used the 25×184 round which is rare, so the project failed. I would like to see a 25mm upgrade to the Phalanx, but using the widely available 25×137 round. The GE GAU-12/U is a 5 barrel 25×137 rotary cannon. (The Aden 25 also used the 25×137). The MDHC M242 25×137 is in use on AFV. So 25×137 is in wide use in the free world. It is still too light… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

I have to say this article and comments have really been interesting. This system is something I think most of us take for granted, but we clearly dont have enough. If a new one of these (perhaps with the 7 sea ram on them), costs £10m, surely we should be buying 6 every year and then phase in its replacement over time, giving us a total inventory over 25 years of 150 units for a 120 unit operational inventory. Once we get to this level we simply maintain by retiring the oldest and replacing with new, but I suspect we… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

They didnt give CIWS to the 23s so would not surprise me if they were ommitted from the 31s or even the 26s.

Helions
Guest
Helions
Daveyb
Guest
Daveyb

I know Phalanx has taken out both mortars and unguided rockets from witnessing a airfield system do this at Bagram in Afghan. But has any CIWS actually engaged and defeated an actual guided missile attack?

trackback

[…] La venta propuesta de los Kits de actualización de radar Phalanx Baseline 2 se utilizará para la autodefensa del buque de cerca contra amenazas aéreas y de superficie a bordo de los combatientes navales y auxiliares del Reino Unido. El Reino Unido, que ya tiene versiones anteriores del MK 15 Phalanx en su inventario, no tendrá dificultades para absorber estas actualizaciones y apoyar a sus fuerzas armadas. El sistema de armamento Phalanx es una ametralladora guiada por radar, de rápido disparo, controlada por computadora, que puede derrotar misiles antibuque y otras amenazas cercanas que han penetrado en otras líneas… Read more »