Axe has two posts up on the CIWS Phalanx-based C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Mortars, and Artillery) over at Danger Room:

Top War Tech Reader Suggestion #1: C-RAM which includes a note from the C-RAM executive officer on a base in Iraq.

Mortar-Zapping Gun in Action which includes a video.


The system has been noted previously on MO:

R2-D2 vs. Mortar Rounds
CIWS now does surface targets, too
Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System C-RAM

UPDATE: Strateg Page reports that the Brits are buying some.


  1. I know it’s against the Geneva conventions and all…but can you imagine turning that beotch on to massed ground troops…(thinking of what a useful beach defense weapon it might be for Taiwan)

  2. A Maginot Line of those things across the shoers of Taiwan with heavy artillery mixed in – nice! It’s not against the Geneva convention if you aim it at their equipment. The ZSU-23-4 was much scarier for us infantry types than crappy Russian tanks.

  3. ‘As I recall, the Maginot Line was not particularly effective.’ Thats cause it did have wheels, Dfens.

  4. Can we (PR obsessed and Collateral Damage- Phobic US of A) afford to use this thing within 30k of any civilians? 20mm cannon slugs (explosive tipped? – 4000 per minute) coming down in some suburb of Baghdad… I can hear the international outcry now…

  5. Dfens – The Maginot Line performed exactly as it was meant to. It stopped the Germans from attacking across the French border for the most part. The Germans were forced to attack through Belgium where most of the French and British forces were waiting. The fact that the Germans kicked their teeth in had nothing to do with the line. The Italians assualted the southern Maginot line with zero success. Most of the fortifications were intact when the French government ordered the soldeirs manning them to surrender.

  6. It seems to me this system is like trying to swat a fly with a grenade launcher, and the only reason it is getting serious consideration is because our procurement system is so fatally flawed that the development of a more realistic approach would take decades and cost millions of innocent lives.

  7. I understand counter-battery fire and think it should be used vigorously. However, it can’t do anything about a shell already airborne. What type of cheaper technology will stop an inbound shell?

  8. It could be one of these, except not firing 20mm shells. Something smaller would be nice. Something that doesn’t take a semi with a flatbed to move, for instance. Maybe something that would fit in a Humvee. This might actually be a good use for a .223 round. No leaves or twigs to knock a bullet off it’s path when you’re shooting up, and they don’t come down with a huge amount of energy like a bigger bullet would.

  9. Dfens: I’ve thought about a lighter round for this sort of thing before, but I doubt that something much smaller (esp. 5.56) would have the range or the accuracy at range to be effective in this role. The M134/GAU-2 (7.62) might be worth looking at plugging in instead of the 20mm, but even that probably wouldn’t have the range we’re wanting with this sort of system. I could see a lighter version as a complimentary system, though. And the anti-personnel role potential would be icing.

  10. Bram: Agreed on the Maginot Line. It’s a popular whipping boy for the ‘don’t fight the last war’ mentality, but the fixed defenses weren’t too bad at all. Even if the entire border cannot be completely covered by such a network, you at least have some say in where the invader is going to strike. Then you prepare your army for that. Unfortunately for France, it was the French Army they were counting on to cover the gaps. That being said, if we’re lining these things up on the shores of Taiwan, I’d rather they had some mobility. Precision munitions would make short work of such things these days. At least keep them moving so that some will survive the initial strikes.

  11. IMO the issue is not with the ammo you are using. The real issue is with your targeting solution. We use a 4000 rnd/minute weapon to cover lack of processing power and failure to use multiple axis sensor points. So instead of improving our aim, we throw up a wall of lead. Now shooting a mortar round is pretty easy, relatively slow and predictable – why we have to use hundred+, 20m rounds to hit it 90% of the time, is sad. We now have processor speeds to handle the issue (In the lab, not in the field). At that point, your only real problem is having an impactor with a predictable line of fire, that has enough mass or power to kill the target. (The ideal would laser strong enough to vaporize the target (in milliseconds) not going to happen any time soon unless maybe if you are parked next to a nuclear reactor.) I would go for a 4 to 6 pack, railgun. (something small say 5 mm, 100gram slug, launched at Mach 8 or so) Each railgun would have its own supercapasitor, so if the 1st round missed you would have some follow-up shots. So to defend a stationary point like a base. You could have a couple of humvee sized shooters with several integrated sensor sources. ( An aerostat + several ground sensors liked by fiberoptics)

  12. There ya’ go. I mean, it’s not like the mortar is maneuvering. It’s on a ballistic trajectory. You pick up 5 points on the parabola and you know where it’s going to be. It’s not much different from one of these shooting showmen who throw a coin into the air and hit it with a pistol round. The arc is higher and longer, that’s about all. The worst part of this defense fiasco is that we’ve completely lost our self confidence. Years ago it was ‘hell yeah we’ll go to the Moon’. Today it’s always, ‘well, that seems a little risky to me’. Yeah it’s risky if you pay someone more to f’ everything up than you do for them to do a decent job. What’s not going to be risky if you’re stupid enough to do that?