Phalanx Close-In Weapons System

Description: Fast-reaction, rapid-fire 20-millimeter gun system.

Features: Phalanx provides US Navy ships with a terminal defense against anti-ship missiles that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Designed to engage anti-ship cruise missiles and fixed-wing aircraft at short range, Phalanx automatically engages functions usually performed by separate, independent systems such as search, detection, threat evaluation, acquisition, track, firing, target destruction, kill assessment and cease fire.

Background: The Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) underwent operational tests and evaluation onboard USS Bigelow in 1977, and exceeded maintenance and reliability specifications. Phalanx production started in 1978 with orders for 23 USN and 14 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) systems.

Point of Contact:
Public Affairs Office
Naval Sea Systems Command (OOD)
Washington, DC 20360

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Anti-ship missile defense
Contractor: Hughes Missile Systems Company (formerly General Dynamics' Pomona Division, sold to Hughes in 1992)
Weight: 12,500 pounds (5,625 kg) - Later models: 13,600 pounds (6,120 kg)
Range: Classified
Gun Type: M-61A1 Gatling
Type of Fire: 3,000 rounds per minute - Later models: 4,500 rounds/min (starting 1988 production, Pneumatic Gun Drive)
Magazine Capacity: 989 rounds - Later models: 1,550 rounds
Caliber: 20mm
Ammunition: Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS), Depleted Uranium sub-caliber penetrator. Penetrator changed to Tungsten 1988.
Sensors: Self-contained search and track radar
Date Deployed:
1980 (aboard USS Coral Sea)
Later models: 1988 (aboard USS Wisconsin)

| First Page | Prev Page | Next Page | Back to Text |