The Royal Australian Navy’s latest upgrade of the Mark 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) has reached initial operating capability, a major milestone for the project.
The Phalanx CIWS is a close-in weapon system for surface-to-air defence, including against airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles and helicopters. The model was originally designed and manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, Pomona Division, now a part of Raytheon.
A tried and trusted part of the USN's arsenal, the fleet deploys it aboard every class of surface combat ship, except the Zumwalt Class destroyer and San Antonio Class amphibious transport dock.
The upgraded capability aims to deliver improved lethality and a broader range of protection for Navy ships in fast-moving combat situations. Upgrades are being progressively rolled out until late 2023 across the RAN’s destroyers, amphibious ships and new Supply Class tankers.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds added that the system has been installed and IOC-certified aboard HMAS Sydney.
“The first system, which incorporates the upgrade to Block 1B Baseline 2 of the Phalanx system, has already been installed into HMAS Sydney which will ensure she enters service as Australia’s most potent and capable warship,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The system significantly boosts HMAS Sydney’s self defence capability, providing new generation technology to Navy vessels and ensuring the highest levels of protection from modern systems.
“Achieving this important milestone reflects Australia’s world-class shipbuilding capability and demonstrates the success of the Morrison Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.”
The upgraded system will create opportunities for Australian businesses to benefit from the Morrison government’s investment in a sovereign shipbuilding capability.
The second unit of the upgraded system was delivered in 2019 and will be used to provide comprehensive training in Australia, supported by local industry and increasing self-reliance in the training pipeline.