This precision weapon is the US Navy's last line of defence

Threats can change rapidly at sea, and the Navy has to be able to respond at a moment’s notice.

That’s why the Navy has invested in a range of technologies to protect its ships, spanning from missile interceptors to new prototype lasers. But for threats that get too close, the Navy has a final line of defence — the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CWIS).

Developed by Raytheon, the CWIS is “a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system,” according to the program specifics. We have put together GIFs below highlighting the weapon system’s capabilities.

The CWIS system is installed on every Navy surface ship, as well as onboard ships of an additional 24 countries around the world.

Principally, the system is used to detect, track, and destroy incoming enemy rounds before they can hit the ships.

However, the system can also be used against approaching vessels. Here, the CWIS locks in on and attacks an approaching speedboat.

The weapon system, which uses computer guidance to track and engage threats, is also capable of anti-airfare operations, such as against helicopters.

With the right software upgrade, the CWIS gun system can be swapped out for the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system, which enlarges the weapon’s range and allows the targeting of helicopters, planes, and drones.

All together, the CWIS, Raytheon notes, performs the roles of “search, detection, threat evaluation, tracking, engagement and kill assessment.”

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