Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS John Finn conducts live firing with Phalanx CIWS in Sea of Japan


According to information published by the UK MoD on October 11, 2023, while operating in the Sea of Japan, the USS John Finn (DDG 113), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, carried out a live-fire drill using its Phalanx Close-in weapon system.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 US Navy's Phalanx CIWS on the destroyer USS John Finn. (Picture source: Dvids)


This automated gun-based system is specifically engineered to shield military vessels from imminent threats, including aircraft, missiles, and smaller boats.

The United States Navy, along with naval forces from 15 other nations, has integrated the Phalanx into their defense arsenal. Notably, every class of US Navy surface combat ship, barring the Zumwalt-class destroyer and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is equipped with this system.

The Phalanx is renowned for its robust specifications. The early models tip the scales at approximately 12,500 lb, while subsequent versions weigh in at around 13,600 lb.

The system's barrel length is contingent on its block designation, with Block 0 & 1 models featuring a 59.8-inch gun barrel and the Block 1B extending to 78 inches. Towering at 15.5 ft, the Phalanx operates autonomously but still necessitates human oversight to ensure peak performance.

Depending on its deployment, the Phalanx employs varied ammunition. In naval scenarios, it utilizes armor-piercing tungsten penetrator rounds complemented by discarding sabots.

Conversely, its terrestrial counterpart is armed with high-explosive incendiary tracer rounds designed to self-destruct. The system's firepower is channeled through a six-barrel configuration, each with a progressive right-hand parabolic twist and nine grooves, and it boasts a caliber of 20x102mm.

The Phalanx's adaptability in elevation is noteworthy. The Block 0 variant can pivot between -10° and +80°, the Block 1 spans from -20° to +80°, and the Block 1B provides an expansive range from -25° to +85°.

Additionally, it can swivel 150° from its centerline in either direction. Its firing rate is formidable, with the Block 0/1 discharging 3,000 rounds per minute and the Block 1A/1B accelerating to 4,500 rounds per minute. With a muzzle speed of 3,600 ft/s, it can effectively engage targets up to 1,625 yards away, and its maximum range stretches to 6,000 yards.

At the heart of the Phalanx is its primary armament, the 20 mm M61 Vulcan, a six-barreled Gatling cannon. To ensure pinpoint accuracy, the system integrates a Ku-band radar and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology.