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Modern CIWS systems

This is a discussion on Modern CIWS systems within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; bear in mind that the area of ops also means different roe's and corresponding onion layers of detection and defence ...


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Old March 1st, 2015   #151
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bear in mind that the area of ops also means different roe's and corresponding onion layers of detection and defence

the higher the threat in the area of ops, the more complex the response mechansims applied to assets in the area - and assets don't defend in isolation necessarily.

all navies revisited their roe's after stark - including rewriting the fire arcs for ciws
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Old March 1st, 2015   #152
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I think he means "Australian waters" exactly how you explained it. The RAN will use them for disaster relief in their proverbial backyard a port visit here and there and some token military exercises to show that it actually is a warship. But the RAN unlike the USN is not designed for major transoceanic operations, so they will probably operate mostly in and around South East Asia.

I have a problem with your point about the escorts though! Dodger67 said "An LHD has no business paddling around in hostile water without an escort of at least a frigate" and he's right, so are you when you say they will have escorts. But the issue I have with this and with a lot of the discussion in this thread is that it's all very... academical. It's like a lot of the air force debates, this stat versus that anecdote.

And we're not wrong to do it because that's how defense theory is made. But ultimately things never go as planned. The Canberra ships are major national assets, more importantly they are warships. They should at least be able to protect themselves, even if they're protected a missile or an aircraft could penetrate and they would be defenseless. What's more is by the nature of their operations, amphibious assault assets are often in vulnerable positions close to shore.
We've been through this a thousand times on this site. Feel free to read the RAN thread...

The Canberra Class are armed according to threat level they are expected to encounter in PEACE TIME operations and Humanitarian Support support missions. If they are to be deployed to a combat area, they will be appropriately armed to address the threat, just as Kanimbla and Manoora were when they went to the Gulf.

In addition, they will only operate inside the defensive air, surface and sub-surface 'umbrella' just as any other 'capital' ship does.


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What I mean to say is that you never know how useful a weapon will be until you actually use it, but also that you can never completely plan out how you are going to use it. For example I personally think the type of 1-on-1 slugging match scenario described here earlier is more plausible than a lot of you are willing to admit. I don't think we'll see a lot of massive battles on the high seas anymore, because no way any nation will ever throw a fleet or carrier group against another. The risk is too high and the assets too expensive, that's why we build submarines and missile boats.

So IMHO there's a good chance that navies will be fighting in littorals and archipelago's and the like. I'm not an expert but it seems to me that this makes things more complicated. When you don't have interstellar engagement ranges and a carrier battlegroup. But enemies that are hiding or taking potshots, low flying aircraft making strafing runs etc... I know I know it's not as exiting as shooting down hypersonic cruise-missiles and whatnot but for a lot of surface combatants it is a likely scenario. I think we should conceptualize CIWS more as an all round weapon than something that shoots down incoming missiles. Even if a FFG or DDG doesn't need a Phalanx to shoot down a ASM in a battlegoup, Sir Galahad and Sir Tristam ( or their escort) could have used it to shoot down skyhawks.
And those lessons have been learnt. Why do you think Manoora and Kanimbla were equipped with Phalanx when they went on Operations? Canberra Class ships will do likewise, I'm sure. As would Choules if we were to deploy it anywhere.

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Finally (super ontopic now) I like the bigger guns for air defense. Mostly because 76mm rapid fire is hella cool! With the smart airburst ammunition and all the computers and sensors you can put on a ship I'm sure that they will be effective at air defense. I don't like those hybrid gun/missile systems though. I think they're perfect for smaller ships to give them organic air defense at different engagement ranges. But for a bigger ship I think CIWS should be more compact. I also like guns more than missiles because they are more versatile. You can't fire a missile at a skiff, but you can put a CIWS on a patrol boat as a main gun and give it a secondary air defense capability.
Of course you can fire a missile at a skiff. Assuming you have the right weapons. Sea Sparrow, SM-2, Rolling Airframe Missiles all have a secondary anti-surface capability. Or you can simply add ship-launched Hellfire, Griffin, Brimstone whatever you would like and then you get a very capable, layered anti-surface capability. But what is the threat you're trying to address?

It therefore depends on what you want your 'patrol boat' to do. Our Armidale Class with a 25mm Typhoon gun and a pair of 12.7mm guns, already 'out guns' any light skiff in the world. So the argument becomes, why add a far more expensive weapon system, even if it is possible with top weight issues, real estate issues and so on? A Phalanx CIWS isn't cheap and we don't have enough in the entire Navy to fully equip our major surface combatants, let alone the entire Armidale Class.

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On a big ship 6000+ tonnes I would put 3 gun CIWS and 1 SeaRAM. Then I would have 1 CIWS at the front with the main gun and VLS battery and at the back I would have 2 CIWS and SeaRAM. I don't think I would put SeaRAM together with guns, also when my CIWS was knocked out I could still use my RAM. Another thing about gun systems is you can put them in a little nook or corner on the superstructure, with missiles you always need some blast shielding so you can't place them to close to the superstructure.
Again, real estate management. If you have a vessel that big, it's primary anti-air is going to be bigger more capable SAM systems (Sea Sparrow, SM-2/6, Aster 15/30 and so on). CIWS becomes a 'last ditch' defence all the way behind EW, decoy systems, longer range SAMS, air coverage and so on.

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Finally I have questions. First, I haven't seen anything to indicate it, but is there an autoloading SeaRAM system? If not, why not? Too complex? Too expensive? Not enough space/ compactness of design? Or is it just a bad idea? It would be something like the Mk 26 launcher with a magazine underneath.
My second question is a bit offtopic but someone mentioned big guns and I was wondering just theoretically. What kind of cool things you could do with some 16 inch hardware? How far could you make a 1 tonne projectile go with modern technology? And when you get it there you could make a cluster shell an airburst shell maybe a thermobaric shell a nuclear shell. What I mean to ask is could you use modern technology to make the 16 inch gun a good and useful weapon in these times?
My final question is also about the 16 inch gun. Can you really use a little 20mm cannon to shoot down a 1 tonne cannon shell? Do you aim for the fuse or do you knock it off its path (seems implausible)?

With regards
the Rolling airframe missile system is a small, lightweight self-defence system. Not a major air defence system, if you need more capability than RAM provides, you probably need to assess whether you need a more capable system, rather than just more missiles. RAM provides a 21 round launcher and most users employ 2 per ship, giving 42 missiles at full load. SeaRAM 'only' offers 11 rounds per launcher, but it is a standalone system akin to Phalanx. It's whole purpose is minimum impact on the vessel and zero to no deck penetration.

If you are expecting your vessel to require more than this, you are considering high threat environments and RAM is probably not going to be your first choice weapon system anyway.

As to the larger guns, I'll leave someone else to address this if they want. You may have noticed a significant trend away from large guns towards medium calibre, fast firing guns and missiles in modern navies.

This is for good reason...
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Old March 2nd, 2015   #153
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With respect to modern large guns in the 16 inch range, technology is outpacing the sheer size of past weapons and this can be seen in the design of the naval railgun as its evolution continues at the hands of the USN. When operable this weapon will significantly overmatch even the largest of previous naval artillery. Could you build a modern 16 inch gun cheaper overall? Yes, but you'd need a very large vessel to mount it, remember these days our surface combatants are roughly in the size range of WWII-era heavy cruisers, a significantly smaller hull than the battleships that carried 16-inch weaponry. And if I remember correctly, the 5-inch gun was regarded as a more useful weapon for naval gunfire support, because it wasn't going to level everything for hundreds of metres around it (making it more appealing to infantry in enemy contact) and because it fired far more quickly. Do some searching around on the net for this information because I'm going from an old memory here but I believe you'll find that, when available, the small naval guns were preferred over the larger when employed in support by troops already ashore.

And yes, you really can destroy or disrupt a 16-inch shell using 20mm Phalanx. Typically this weapon is loaded with extremely dense penetrator type ammunition (depleted uranium, tungsten). 6,000 rounds per minute of that is going to dig quite a hole, and you don't even have to reach the fuse, just do enough to adversely affect the aerodynamics of the shell and that's probably enough. It's very easy to compute the trajectory of an object travelling along a ballistic curve. There's a reason so many modern anti-ship weapons are sea skimmers. Minimal exposure to defensive fires is much more preferable to large, relatively dumb weapons flying ballistically limited paths.
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Old March 2nd, 2015   #154
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With respect to modern large guns in the 16 inch range, technology is outpacing the sheer size of past weapons and this can be seen in the design of the naval railgun as its evolution continues at the hands of the USN. When operable this weapon will significantly overmatch even the largest of previous naval artillery. Could you build a modern 16 inch gun cheaper overall? Yes, but you'd need a very large vessel to mount it, remember these days our surface combatants are roughly in the size range of WWII-era heavy cruisers, a significantly smaller hull than the battleships that carried 16-inch weaponry. And if I remember correctly, the 5-inch gun was regarded as a more useful weapon for naval gunfire support, because it wasn't going to level everything for hundreds of metres around it (making it more appealing to infantry in enemy contact) and because it fired far more quickly. Do some searching around on the net for this information because I'm going from an old memory here but I believe you'll find that, when available, the small naval guns were preferred over the larger when employed in support by troops already ashore.

And yes, you really can destroy or disrupt a 16-inch shell using 20mm Phalanx. Typically this weapon is loaded with extremely dense penetrator type ammunition (depleted uranium, tungsten). 6,000 rounds per minute of that is going to dig quite a hole, and you don't even have to reach the fuse, just do enough to adversely affect the aerodynamics of the shell and that's probably enough. It's very easy to compute the trajectory of an object travelling along a ballistic curve. There's a reason so many modern anti-ship weapons are sea skimmers. Minimal exposure to defensive fires is much more preferable to large, relatively dumb weapons flying ballistically limited paths.
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Old March 3rd, 2015   #155
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I have a problem with your point about the escorts though! Dodger67 said "An LHD has no business paddling around in hostile water without an escort of at least a frigate" and he's right, so are you when you say they will have escorts. But the issue I have with this and with a lot of the discussion in this thread is that it's all very... academical. It's like a lot of the air force debates, this stat versus that anecdote.

And we're not wrong to do it because that's how defense theory is made. But ultimately things never go as planned. The Canberra ships are major national assets, more importantly they are warships. They should at least be able to protect themselves, even if they're protected a missile or an aircraft could penetrate and they would be defenseless. What's more is by the nature of their operations, amphibious assault assets are often in vulnerable positions close to shore.

What I mean to say is that you never know how useful a weapon will be until you actually use it, but also that you can never completely plan out how you are going to use it. For example I personally think the type of 1-on-1 slugging match scenario described here earlier is more plausible than a lot of you are willing to admit. I don't think we'll see a lot of massive battles on the high seas anymore, because no way any nation will ever throw a fleet or carrier group against another. The risk is too high and the assets too expensive, that's why we build submarines and missile boats.

So IMHO there's a good chance that navies will be fighting in littorals and archipelago's and the like. I'm not an expert but it seems to me that this makes things more complicated. When you don't have interstellar engagement ranges and a carrier battlegroup. But enemies that are hiding or taking potshots, low flying aircraft making strafing runs etc... I know I know it's not as exiting as shooting down hypersonic cruise-missiles and whatnot but for a lot of surface combatants it is a likely scenario. I think we should conceptualize CIWS more as an all round weapon than something that shoots down incoming missiles. Even if a FFG or DDG doesn't need a Phalanx to shoot down a ASM in a battlegoup, Sir Galahad and Sir Tristam ( or their escort) could have used it to shoot down skyhawks.
A few things to point out, since others have largely covered most things already.

The RAN LHD's do/will have some measure of self-defence fitted, if the situation looks like might be required for a particular deployment or op. However the LHD's cannot realistically be properly kitted out for self-defence vs. all potential threats which is why in threatened areas they will have escorts. For a variety of reasons an LHD-type vessel is not suited for ASW, ASuW or AAW ops. The area of course modifications would could be made to make an LHD better suited for some of those roles, but such modifications would be at the expense of the primary role for an LHD, namely transporting, landing and supporting/sustaining a ground force ashore.

Using an LHD to carry more naval helicopters for ASW, or as a sort of AEW (the APS-147 radar on the MH-60R 'Romeo' can track aircraft was well as surface contacts) or for ASuW using Penguin AShM, AGM-114N/R Hellfire, or in the future perhaps the JCM or NSM if they get integrated and adopted into service, all this can be done. However, this would either require allotting space from the vehicle deck for the additional embarked helicopters in place of the normal embarked vehicle complement for the embarked troops, or in place of the rotary lift helicopters to move/support the embarked troops ashore.

The general belief has been that amphibs should have some organic close-in self-defence, but the responsibility for defending amphibs largely rests with the escort vessels.

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Old September 13th, 2016   #156
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Have anyone ever tested a 57mm gun as a CIWS against supersonic ASM like the Brahmos?
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Old September 13th, 2016   #157
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Have anyone ever tested a 57mm gun as a CIWS against supersonic ASM like the Brahmos?
I don't know but the Italians use their Oto Melara 127mm and 76mm main guns as anti missile AAA. Maybe they have some material that could help.
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Old September 13th, 2016   #158
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If one wants to go bigger gun wise OTO offers it's 76mm Strales gun with guided Dart ammo for close in defense. I am not sure if one can make the guidance package work in the smaller round. One would at least sacrifice range and lethality/payload.

I have to say I am rather intrigued by the OTO gun. Compared to other gun CIWS it offers much greater range and such more reaction time as well as less risk of being hit by the remnants of an intercepted missile.

Additionally it offers tremendous multirole capabilities. The guided air burst (comparable to AHEAD) Dart ammo should shred small boats quite realibly and at good range in the littorals. Additionally Vulcano ammo offers precision attack against land targets (GPS) and ship targets (Imaging IR). Normal volume naval gun fire capability with standard HE Ammo is retained.

All this in a mount which may be occupied by a normal 76mm anyway and such allow the room/weight occupied by CIWS to be used otherwise. Or like the Italians often do it, get multiple 76mm onto your ship in order to increase fire volume and coverage.
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Old September 13th, 2016   #159
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Have anyone ever tested a 57mm gun as a CIWS against supersonic ASM like the Brahmos?
Bofors markets its 3P as being able to deal with missiles but I'm unsure if Bofors claims that 3P can deal with supersonic missiles. For that matter, I'm unsure of how effective RAM is against supersonic targets and also stuff like Phalanx, Goalkeeper and Sea Zenith.
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Old September 15th, 2016   #160
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Bofors markets its 3P as being able to deal with missiles but I'm unsure if Bofors claims that 3P can deal with supersonic missiles. For that matter, I'm unsure of how effective RAM is against supersonic targets and also stuff like Phalanx, Goalkeeper and Sea Zenith.
I saw a video where they test the 3P against a stationary missile on elevated platform. But I never saw video or read any news where they were tested against an actual flying missile.

Also, why they never make AHEAD for other caliber than the 35mm?
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Old September 15th, 2016   #161
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It's available in 30mm and as such in use with the MK 30-2/ABM of the Puma IFV.
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Old September 15th, 2016   #162
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Pendekar,

I have no doubt that 3P is useful against some kind of missiles. The question really is whether it's effective against supersonic ones.

On another matter, throughout the 1990's BAe Systems [prior to that British Aerospace] use to market Seawolf as being able to intercept a 4.5 inch shell. No one else ever made a similar claim for their products; begs the question of whether this capability was unique to Seawolf :] ? Jernas is marketed as being able to counter low flying cruise missiles but surely this is a capability also available from Jernas's competitors? When it comes to reading OEM brochures I've long learnt to read between the lines; to what's not mention as opposed to what is.
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Old September 16th, 2016   #163
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Such a shell shouldn't be that much of a problem. It's flying on a predictable high arc with good radar and IR return at a reasonable speed.

Current C-RAM systems do this kind of intercept all day.
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