Close-in Weapon System
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Close-in Weapon System

A close-in weapon system (CIWS SEE-wiz)[1] is a point-defense weapon system for detecting and destroying short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft which have penetrated the outer defenses, typically mounted shipboard in a naval capacity. Nearly all classes of larger modern warships are equipped with some kind of CIWS device.

There are two types of CIWS systems. A gun-based CIWS usually consists of a combination of radars, computers, and rapid-firing multiple-barrel rotary cannons placed on a rotating turret. Missile-based CIWSs use infra-red, passive radar/ESM or semi-active radar terminal guidance to guide missiles to the targeted enemy aircraft or other threats. In some cases, CIWS are used on land to protect military bases. In this case, the CIWS can also protect the base from shell and rocket fire.

Gun systems

Phalanx CIWS and Bofors 40mm L70 Gun aboard ROCN Di Hua (PFG-1206)

A gun-based CIWS usually consists of a combination of radars, computers and rotary or revolver cannon placed on a rotating, automatically-aimed gun mount. Examples of gun-based CIWS products in operation are:

Limitations of gun systems

  • Short range: the maximum effective range of gun systems is about 5,000 metres (16,000 ft); systems with lighter projectiles have even shorter range. The expected real-world kill-distance of an incoming anti-ship missile is about 500 m (1,600 ft) or less,[4] still close enough to cause damage to the ship's sensor or communication arrays, or to wound or kill exposed personnel. Thus some CIWS (like Russian Kashtan, Pantsir, and US Phalanx systems) are augmented by installing the close range SAMs on the same mount for increased tactical flexibility.
  • Limited kill probability: even if the missile is hit and damaged, this may not be enough to destroy it entirely or to alter its course enough to prevent the missile, or fragments from it, from hitting its intended target, particularly as the interception distance is short. This is especially true if the gun fires kinetic-energy-only projectiles.[5]

Comparison table

China Type 730 CIWS[6] Russia Kashtan CIWS[] United States Phalanx CIWS[7] Netherlands Goalkeeper CIWS Italy DARDO[8] Switzerland Millennium[9]
Image Handan (579) Frigate - Type 730 CIWS - Side View.jpg   ? ?.jpg Phalanx CIWS - ID 060817-N-8547M-014.jpg International Maritime Defence Show 2011 (375-16).jpg 2014.3.19  2  4 ?  Republic of Korea Navy 2nd Fleet Command (13370378983).jpg Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun Systems on HDMS Absalon (L16).jpg
Weight 9,800 kg (21,600 lb) 15,500 kg (34,200 lb) 6,200 kg (13,700 lb) 9,902 kg (21,830 lb) 5,500 kg (12,100 lb) 3,300 kg (7,300 lb)
Armament 30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled Gatling Gun 30 mm (1.2 in) 6 barreled GSh-6-30 Gatling Gun

8 × 9M311K + 32 missiles


20 mm (0.79 in) 6 barreled M61 Vulcan Gatling Gun 30 mm (1.2 in) 7 barreled GAU-8 Gatling Gun 40 mm (1.6 in) 2 barreled Bofors 40 mm 35 mm (1.4 in) 1 barreled Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System
Rate of fire 7,000 rounds per minute 10,000 rounds/min (5,000 per gun)

1-2 (salvo) missiles per 3-4 sec

4,500 rounds per minute 4,200 rounds per minute 600/900 rounds per minute 200/1000 rounds per minute
(effective/ flat-trajectory) Range 3,000 m (9,800 ft) By missiles:


1,500-10,000 m (4,900-32,800 ft)

By guns:


300-5,000 m (980-16,400 ft)

2,000 m (6,600 ft) 3,600 m (11,800 ft) 4,000 m (13,000 ft) 3,500 m (11,500 ft)
Ammunition storage 640 or 2 x 500 rounds (depending on model) 2 x 2,000 rounds 1,550 rounds 1,190 rounds 736 rounds 252 rounds
Muzzle velocity 1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second 960-1100 m/s (3,150-3,610 ft/s) 1,100 m (3,600 ft) per second 1,109 m (3,638 ft) per second 1,000 m (3,300 ft) per second 1,050 m (3,440 ft) per second / 1,175 m (3,855 ft) per second
Elevation -25 to +85 degrees 3,000m (9,840 ft) -25 to +85 degrees -25 to +85 degrees -13 to +85 degrees -15 to +85 degrees
Speed in elevation 100 degrees per second 50 degrees per second 115 degrees per second 100 degrees per second 60 degrees per second 70 degrees per second
Traverse 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 ° 360 °
Speed in Traverse 100 degrees per second 70 degrees per second 115 degrees per second 100 degrees per second 90 degrees per second 120 degrees per second
In service 2007 1989 1980 1980 ? 2003

Missile systems


CIWS are also used on land in the form of C-RAM.[10] On a smaller scale, active protection systems are used in some tanks (to destroy rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), and several are in development. The Drozd system was deployed on Soviet Naval Infantry tanks in the early 1980s, but later replaced by explosive reactive armour. Other systems that are available or under development are the Russian (Arena), Israeli (Trophy), American (Quick Kill) and the South African-Swedish (LEDS-150).

Laser systems

Laser based CIWS systems are being researched. In August 2014 an operational prototype was deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Ponce.[11] The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Ara?t?rma Kurumu, TÜB?TAK) is the second organisation after the US to have developed and tested a High Power Laser CIWS prototype System which is intended to be used on the TF-2000 class frigate and on Turkish airborne systems.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ Friedman, Norman (1991). The Naval Institute guide to world naval weapons systems, 1991/92. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870212885. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-23. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Wachsberger, Christian; Lucas, Michael; Krstic, Alexander (June 2004), Limitations of Guns as a Defence against Manoeuvring Air Weapons (PDF), DSTO Systems Sciences Laboratory, p. 36, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-23, retrieved
  5. ^ Discovery Channel Discovery Channel Science Top 10 Weapon: Fire Power
  6. ^ 11?,?1......2009 - ? - ? - ? - ?. (in Chinese). May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Dan Petty. "The US Navy - Fact File:". Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Tony DiGiulian. "Italy 40 mm/70 (1.57") Breda". Archived from the original on 2015-01-02. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Rheinmetall Oerlikon Millennium Gun
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ U.S. Navy Deploys Its First Laser Weapon in the Persian Gulf Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine -, 14 November 2014
  12. ^ Insinna, Valerie (2015-02-14). "turkey-laser-weapon-indigenous-tubitak-test". Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Turkey creates laser weapon". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Turkey aims to second US in using laser as military weapon | General | Worldbulletin News". 2015-01-19. Archived from the original on 2016-12-13. Retrieved .

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