Mk 15 Phalanx Block 1B
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: CIWS and Close-In Weapon System
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The Phalanx CIWS advanced radar-controlled gun system provides "last chance" defense for ships against anti-ship missiles and aircraft. It automatically detects, tracks and engages anti-air warfare threats such as anti-ship missiles and aircraft. It features a 20mm M-61A1cannon (with rotating cluster of 6 barrels), search and track radar and FLIR in the Block 1B model. To date, the United States Navy and 20 allied nations have purchased more than 850 Phalanx systems.
The Phalanx Block 1B weapon system, derivative of Block 1A, counters the emerging littoral warfare threat. This new threat includes small, high-speed surface craft, small terrorist aircraft, helicopters and surface mines. Phalanx accomplishes these engagements through an advanced search and track radar and a stabilized FLIR that provides passive thermal tracking capability, becoming a truly multi-spectral weapon system. Block 1B also incorporates new optimized barrels which provide improved barrel life, improved round dispersion and increased engagement ranges.
Phalanx Block 1B close-in weapon system is being supplied as an upgrade kit to revamp existing Phalanx weapon systems to the 1B configuration. The US Navy and the Navy of Canada have chosen this approach. ATK's 20mm Mk244 Enhanced Lethality Cartridges (ELC) is being provided to the 1B variant for enhanced performance. Phalanx 1B is an evolutionary, rather a revolutionary, enhancement of Phalanx to counter the changing threat.
On May 16, 2005, Raytheon was awarded a $45 million modification contract for Mk 15 Phalanx Block 1B upgrade and conversion performance enhancement equipment for the United States Navy and the Portuguese Navy. Each country/customer will receive/upgrade three Phalanx 1Bs by December 2007.
In April 2006 the Royal Navy ordered 16 Phalanx Block 1B upgrade kits through a $57 million contract awarded to Raytheon. Kit deliveries were expected to start in September 2007 and complete six years later. The Royal Navy intention with the purchase of Phalanx 1B weapon systems was to improve its ships' performance in the littoral environment.
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