US Army considering more C-RAMs

In Defense News (subscription only):

The U.S. Army is considering buying more Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) systems, first fielded in 2006 to protect forward operating bases from incoming fire, said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, who directs the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

The Army last increased its order in January, when it gave Northrop Grumman a $71 million contract to supply an unspecified number of C-RAMs. Vane declined to say how many of the weapons have been purchased, or how many might be added.

This seems to be an unstated confirmation that the C-RAM is performing acceptably in Iraq. C-RAM is based on the Navy’s Phalanx Block 1B 20mm Close In Weapons System and a Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control network. The actual results in the field are classified.

See R2-D2 vs. Mortar Rounds and Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System C-RAM for more on this system.


  1. The Regional Training Center (RTC) I was stationed at outside of Kandahar was only about a mile across the desert (and highway) from Kandahar Airfield (KAF). There were two ramshackel villes, one about a quarter mile to our NW and the other about a half mile to our W. The local Taliban knew if they set up remote/timer operated rockets to fire from either of the villes (they really favored the one to the NW) the Coalition didn’t have line of site back to them across the flat desert plain, because of our base being in the way, and the civilian population of the villes made it unacceptable for the coaliton to try counter battery fire, even if they could track the rockets back to their POO (point of origin). This used to go on about 3 or 4 nights per week for the first few months I was stationed there, of course we (in the RTC) would do the most mature and reasonable thing we could think of when the rocketings happened, we’d go out side to watch the show. The Coalition was limited to firing illumination rounds back, to allow friendly forces better opportunity to see if any Taliban were stupid enough to be still scurrying around in the villes or desert (which actually happened a couple times–with shockingly fatal results to the scurriers!), and/or put out gunship (AH 64As or 64Ds) patrols to give the rascals the good news if they got caught. There was a unit (don’t know if it was USAF or the ‘other agency’) operating Predator UAVs out of KAF, and they put up nightly surveillance flights in our area as a dissuader to rocket teams; didn’t seem to do much good though. Eventually the Coalition had their best luck with night time patrols through/around the villes, and establishing a better rapport with the villagers through public works projects. I wouldn’t be surprised if some rewards weren’t discretely given out for villagers dropping a dime on the odd rocket team or two. In any event there was almost certainly no C RAMs at KAF (though they may have them now), as I/we traveled extensively on base and never saw any, nor heard of any, and the rockets were always impacting, though thankfully I never heard of anything other than minor damage and no casualties.