The discussion about anti-ship missiles is closely related to the discussion of the capabilities of the ship’s air defense weapons. And every time, in this place hot disputes flare up between the adherents of various opposition systems. Indeed, what is better: anti-aircraft guns, anti-missiles, or maybe it is worth hiding behind thick armor?
As for the self-defense anti-aircraft artillery complexes, the erroneous opinion is widespread that they are not suitable for anything, since their effective range of fire usually does not exceed 4-s kilometers. What is the 3-4 km distance for a transonic anti-ship missile? 10 seconds of flight! What can be done during this time? Nothing!
Fallacy is due to ignorance of the algorithm of such systems. The radar of the anti-aircraft artillery complex takes the target to escort, as soon as it appears above the radio horizon - and this, at least, 20 - 30 kilometers! As you well understand, the computer brains of an anti-aircraft machine gun have a lot of time to accurately calculate the trajectory of the flight of projectiles. Further, the self-defense anti-aircraft complex does not wait for the target to fly very close; As soon as the rocket approaches the 5-6 kilometers, the automatic anti-aircraft gun opens fire immediately - after a few seconds, the shells will meet with the anti-ship missile at the borders of the affected area. The next 10 seconds RPC will have to fly through a continuous swarm of automatic anti-aircraft guns.
Among the various systems of self-defense is very common name "Phalanx". Indeed, the American anti-aircraft artillery complex is one of the most common in its class.
The official name of the system is the Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS (English Phalanx melee system). Anti-aircraft artillery complex is designed to protect ships from any anti-ship missiles, as well as from guided bombs and corrected ammunition. "Falanx" is able to effectively hit any air targets within a radius of several kilometers, and the declination angles of the gun allow, if necessary, to fire at surface targets. Produced serially with 1978. American sailors, for their resemblance, were called “Phalanx” R2D2, by analogy with the hero of the Star Wars saga - a silent robot that looks like a large cap.
Technically, the Phalanx is a 20-mm rapid-fire six-barrel cannon with a rotating block of barrels mounted on a single gun carriage with two radar guidance (for detecting and tracking a target). Also in the "Phalanx" includes a rack with electronic units and a remote control. The mass of the system is 6 tons.
“Phalanx” was repeatedly used in real combat to repel rocket attacks (at least it was obliged to do this), but, alas, unsuccessfully: by accidental coincidence, either the target was outside its area of operation, or there was an own ship on the shooting line, or In general, the anti-aircraft machine gun was disabled. Twice this led to combat losses. And if the Israeli corvette “Khanit” got off relatively easily (the Chinese Yingji anti-ship missiles, released by Hezbollah’s fighters hit the helipad, killing the 4 sailor), the US Navy stark frigate was heavily damaged, crew members 37 died.
Objectively, the fault of “Phalanx” was not there - on the “Khanite” the sailors had a meal, turning off all means of detection, and the only nasal “Phalanx” could not reach the rocket in the rear hemisphere. “Stark”, on the contrary, (the law of meanness!) Was attacked from course angles, and the only aft “Phalanx” could get “Exosets” only by flashing the frigate's superstructure with fiery tracks. The clever apparatus did not do this, and later it turned out that he was generally in a state of disability.
Much brighter talk about the ability of "Falanx" three funny times when he fired to kill. The first state of emergency took place 10 February 1983, when the US Navy frigate "Entrym" was trying to knock down an unmanned aerial target.
... "Phalanx" zealously buzzing servo, trying to catch a supersonic target in the crosshair of an invisible radar sight. Short turn. Another one. The target still follows the course to the ship. “Falanx” panics and switches to continuous firing mode, spitting out 7 kilograms of death every second ...
From a distance of half a mile, the automatic anti-aircraft gun was able to shred the drone, which had burrowed into the waves, causing a lighter sigh for the operators in the combat information center. On this история for “Phalanx” is over, and for the frigate “Entrym” has just begun.
The laws of drama came into effect: a riddled far and wide, a flaming drone emerged from the sea foam and a second later the frigate hit the superstructure painfully. Simply put, the wreckage of the target ricocheted from the water, like a successfully thrown pebble, and made a fire center on the frigate. The only victim was a civilian specialist, who was hit by a wreck.
In principle, a good example of topmast bombing.
Beat your own
The next story is the banal "friend fire". During the war with Iraq, the frigate URO "Gerret" had the honor to defend the battleship Missouri.
On a dark winter night, the 1991 of Missouri calmly spud Iraqi shores from its monstrous 406-mm cannons. The Iraqis sent their cruel “hi” to the battleship - two Hayin anti-ship missiles (a Chinese copy of the Soviet Termite P-15 with an increased range of fire). The first missile was intercepted by a British destroyer, the second disappeared somewhere along the way (the EW battleship of the battleship turned on). The Gerreth frigate was especially notable: the Phalanx anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on it was so keen on hunting anti-ship missiles that the battleship standing in the line of fire did not notice and fired Missouri with a fiery shower.
Beat your own-2
The stupid story happened 4 June 1996 of the year. American sailors taught their Japanese counterparts to use the Phalanx. The task is to get from an anti-aircraft machine into a towed air cone. It was only necessary to charge the gun and turn on the power in time - the smart machine will do the rest on its own. But even here they managed to spoil everything.
The Yugiri squadron officer pressed the “Glory to the robots!” Button too early! Kill all people! ”,“ Phalanx ”came to life and joyfully buzzed, spinning a block of trunks.
The Japanese announced on the radio: "Banzai!"
The American pilots answered: ... (however, we will give the reader the opportunity to independently guess what the Americans answered, who had not yet had time to leave the danger zone by that time).
The innocent victim of Japanese aggression Grumman A-6 Intruder
The deck attack aircraft A-6 "Intruder" was mercilessly cut in half, after which the Phalanx lost interest in the towing vehicle and began to make holes in the target cone. It was this circumstance that gave the pilots a chance to eject by some miracle. When the power of the Falans was cut down, only two white spots of parachute domes swayed among the waves ...
The Phalanx anti-aircraft artillery complex has many advantages: simple design, minimal weight and dimensions, low price ... The system is deservedly popular and widely spread all over the world - the ships of the 23 states are armed with Falans. But, like any weaponit is not perfect. Truth is best seen in comparison with anything. A direct analogue of the “Falanx” is the Soviet automatic ship installation AK-630. We will try to draw some parallels between them. First, immediately an important technical feature - in AK-630, a block of trunks rotates powder gases, in the Phalanx it is done by a separate electric motor. "Falanx" can not instantly open fire, like any gun M61 "Volcano", his gun takes 1,5 seconds to spin the barrels.
The main drawbacks of the “Falanx” are always called a small caliber (the mass of the projectile is only 100 grams) and a relatively low rate of fire (adjustable within 3000-4500 rpm). According to these parameters, the AK-630 is breaking far forward - the rate of fire of the domestic 5000 system is rpm / min, and its high-explosive fragmentation projectile weighs 390 grams!
But not everything is so unequivocal: the lower rate of fire of the American installation is compensated by its greater accuracy of shooting: the Phalanx’s weapons and guidance systems are on a single carriage, at the same time AK-630 and its Vympel radar are spaced apart. In addition, AK-630 analog drive guidance requires periodic careful calibration - a difficult process to be carried out on combatant ships in the realities of our Fatherland. This deficiency was corrected in the next development of the Soviet military-industrial complex - the Kortik anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex, in which two blocks of barrels, two launchers and guidance systems are combined in a single unit.
The strengths of the AK-630 are excellent ballistic characteristics and greater power of ammunition. The trump card of the American system is the Mk.149 sub-caliber projectile made of depleted uranium core. High-speed ammunition, when hit by an anti-ship missile, causes a powerful release of thermal energy and instantaneous detonation of the anti-ship missile unit (this is exactly what is required from the self-defense anti-aircraft systems, simply damaging the missile is not enough - fragments will ricochet off water and can damage the ship).
Shooting "Falanx" can not be compared in terms of entertainment with the "Dirk". Almost invisible flame
Due to the smaller caliber of 1,5, the Phalanx emits less heat when fired at 5. The length of the continuous line of the American installation can reach 1000 shots, but this is not the main thing: less heat generation allowed the use of an air cooling system for the shafts and reduce the mass of the installation. The speed of the horizontal targeting of the lightweight Falunks reaches 115 degrees / sec (in AK-630, this indicator is equal to 70 degrees / sec), in the vertical plane the situation is similar - 115 degrees / sec. "American" versus 50 degrees / sec of the Soviet "metal cutter".
For the sake of justice, it should be noted: the shortcomings of the Soviet shipboard anti-aircraft system AK-630 were compensated by the fact that the AK-630 was installed on ships of the USSR Navy in the form of a battery of two guns. You do not need to be a mathematician to calculate the total rate of fire of such a system - 10 000 shots / min!
Everything is done to reduce installation inertia
Sometimes the Phalanx is criticized for being too open. For example, the photographs immediately catch the eye of the absence of the casing of the propellant feed mechanism. In fact, it should not be there. Especially strong contrast is felt in comparison with the tightly sealed AK-630 - it seems that the Soviet anti-aircraft gun is completely sealed. The design of "Falanx", on the contrary, is extremely facilitated and open to the views of others - it is terrible to think what will happen to the American system in the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic.
The Phalanx will instantly freeze and fail. However, the US Navy and its allies care little about this aspect - most of the world's population lives in temperate latitudes. New York is located at the same latitude with the resort of Sochi. And it is considered the north of the USA? From the southernmost point of America 90 miles to Cuba. The tender Mediterranean Sea, the hot air of the Persian Gulf, the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean ... only crazy Russian climbed to the very north of the Eurasian continent, where perennial pack ice covers the coast of the Arctic Ocean more reliably than any Coast Guard.
It becomes clear why the Phalanx has such a strange construction, or, for example, why there is no catapult icing problem on American aircraft carriers - the US Navy ships simply have no need to act in the Arctic.
As for the protection from combat damage, this issue was not even considered. To ensure sane protection, at least from a rifle caliber bullet, 8 millimeters of armored steel is required. Light radiotransparent cap - that’s all the equipment protection of the complex. Especially, when it comes to combat damage in modern naval combat, it means that things are bad and no one cares about Phalanx.
“Falanx” is developing new areas of its application - the army ordered 43 units for ground-based modification of the complex to protect US bases abroad. The ground-based phalanx was designated the “Centurion” C-RAM (counter-rocket, artillery, mortar) –this abbreviation exhaustively explains the purpose of the complex — protecting the base’s territory from operational-tactical missiles, mortar shells and large-caliber artillery shells. C-RAM rate of fire reduced to 2000 fps / min. Unlike the naval "Phalanx", this modification uses the M940 HEIT-SD fragmentation and funnels - this is done, first of all, to increase safety - in case of a miss, the marine projectile with the uranium core will fly into the void and be buried in the waves, the ground projectile should in order to be sure to be equipped with self-liquidation. The complex is able to cover the area of 1,2 square. kilometers It is reported that in Iraq, the "Centurions" successfully repelled 105 mortar shelling of the American positions.
SeaRAM on trial
On the navy The Phalanx is gradually losing ground - instead of artillery, missile systems such as SeaRAM — the launcher on the Falanks carriage — come, but instead of the gun, an 11-charge anti-missile launcher with laser and infrared guidance is installed. Many destroyers of the Orly Burke type and the latest assault ships of the San Antonio type were put into operation without the noticeable white caps of the Phalanxes.
Of course, the Phalanx is not the best of the Pleiad of marine complexes, self-defeating, although it has an advantage in terms of cost - efficiency. From the point of view of paper TTX, the Goalkeeper anti-aircraft artillery complex (made by the Netherlands-USA) looks much more solid. Not less attention is attracted by the newest anti-aircraft automatic “Millennium” of the Swiss company “Oerlikon” - 35-mm gun with programmable projectiles, each of which contains 152 striking elements. Despite the low rate of fire - less than 1000 rpm / min, this design solution creates a horrendous wall of fire. And what a savings of ammunition!