U.S. Approves Sale of Phalanx CIWS Systems for ROK Navy’s First KDX-III Batch II Destroyer

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of two MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) systems for Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy’s first Batch II KDX III Sejong the Great-class destroyer.

The sale is being executed through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program with an estimated cost of $39 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees FMS sales, delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Republic of Korea has requested to buy two MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) systems; and 4,000 rounds, 20MM cartridge API linked. Also included are spare parts; other support equipment; ammunition; books and other publications; software; training; engineering technical assistance and other technical assistance; and other related elements of program and logistical support. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile and Defense, Louisville, KY.

The CIWS will provide the first Batch II KDX III Aegis destroyer with effective means of detecting and defending itself against incoming airborne threats. The contract for the vessel was signed with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) on 10 October 2019. Under the deal, HHI will deliver the first ship by November 2024.

MK 15 Phalanx CIWS

The MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS – pronounced “sea-whiz”) is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided 20-millimeter gun system that can defeat close-in threats.

The system consists of a 20 mm M61 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling cannon and a Ku band fire control radar system mounted on a swiveling base. It primarily provides fast-reaction terminal defense against low- and high-flying, high-speed maneuvering anti-ship missile (AShM) threats that have penetrated all other defenses.

The Phalanx CIWS system is installed on all U.S. Navy surface combatant ship classes and on those of 24 allied nations.

There is also land based variant of the Phalanx system, called LPWS (Land Phalanx Weapon System). It is used as a C-RAM system to counter incoming rockets, artillery and mortar fire.

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