Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar

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Israeli Iron Dome air defense and C-RAM system.
2010 test-fire of a C-RAM. Balad, Iraq

Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar, abbreviated C-RAM or counter-RAM, is a set of systems used to detect and/or destroy incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets, or simply provide early warning.

The intercept capability of C-RAM is effectively a land version of weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS radar-controlled rapid-fire gun for close-in protection of vessels from missiles; the weapon system also contains a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera to allow a soldier to visually identify these target threats before engaging the targets. One major difference between the land- and sea-based variants is the choice of ammunition. Whereas naval Phalanx systems fire tungsten armor-piercing rounds, the C-RAM uses the 20mm HEIT-SD (high-explosive incendiary tracer, self-destruct) ammunition, originally developed for the M163 Vulcan air defense system. These rounds explode on impact with the target, or on tracer burnout, thereby greatly reducing the risk of collateral damage from rounds that fail to hit their target.


PM C-RAM with the Phalanx CIWS[edit]

A 20mm LPWS (Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System), a land based variant of the US's Phalanx close-in weapon system. PM C-RAM developed and successfully tested a system similar to Iron Dome. [1]

Iron Dome[edit]

An Israeli missile system featuring multiple-target tracking and self-guided missile interceptors. Due to the ongoing increase of its engagement range and new missile and interception improvements, plus surface-to-air missile capability, it has developed into a fully-fledged air defence system. By November 2012, the system had intercepted over 400 rockets fired into Israel by Gaza Strip militants. Based on operational success, defense reporter Mark Thompson estimates that Iron Dome is currently the most-effective and most-tested counter missile system in existence.

Nächstbereichschutzsystem MANTIS[edit]

35mm fully automated C-RAM system, produced by Rheinmetall based on Oerlikon's Skyshield and ordered by the Luftwaffe in use from 2011.


A typical Porcupine configuration for the Indian Army consists of four firing units, one central control post for target designation and weapon control and a 3D radar system "track while scan type" for surveillance and target tracking. Each remote firing unit consists of a 20 mm M61A1 Gatling cannon, its ammunition handling system and a stabilised optronic infra-red (IR) tracking system.[2]


The DRACO is a multipurpose weapon station operating against Air, R.A.M. and Surface targets, designed for the Italian Army. The main armament consists of a high rate of fire 76/62mm gun with an automatic ammunition loading system; the 76/62mm gun is electrically controlled for elevation and traversing, and is stabilized in elevation. DRACO can be installed on 8x8 wheeled platforms, for combat support operations or convoy defence, as well as on tracked vehicles or on shelters for point defence. The main 76/62mm gun and the automatic loading system are fully compatible with all in service 76mm rounds and also with 76mm DART guided ammunition. DRACO can be completely controlled by two Operators (the Commander and the Gunner) from a remote position, located inside the hull for mobile installation or inside a protected command shelter for fixed installation.[3]


Raytheon is developing a laser-based variation where low cost focused lasers will provide increased range and decreased time-to-intercept over the gun. A proof of concept was demonstrated on a 60 mm mortar round in 2006.[4]

Iron Beam is an air defense system in development by Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.[5] Unveiled at the 2014 Singapore Air Show on 11 February,[6] the system is designed to destroy short-range rockets, artillery, and mortars with a range of up to 7 km (4.3 mi), too small for the Iron Dome system to intercept effectively.[5] In addition, the system could also intercept unmanned aerial vehicles.[7] Iron Beam will use a "directed high energy laser beam" to destroy hostile targets with ranges of up to 7 kilometres (4.3 mi).[5][8] Iron Beam will constitute the fifth element of Israel's integrated air defense system,[5] in addition to Arrow 2, Arrow 3, David's Sling, and Iron Dome.[9] However, Iron Beam is also a stand-alone system.[7]

Expanded Efforts: The US has been enhancing its Directed-Energy (DE) capabilities aimed at countering threats posed by missiles. A directed energy weapon is a ranged weapon system that inflicts damage at a target by the emission of highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves and particle beams. Potential applications include anti-personnel weapon systems, missile defense system, and the disabling of lightly armored vehicles or mounted optical devices.

The US Army has secured a $29m contract with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions to support its DE systems (2016). The company will commit to developing prototype technologies, components and subsystems to support the advancement and upgrade of the existing or new DE systems, according to

This effort will help expand the DE system capabilities of counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM), counter unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS), and/or counter intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C-ISR) missions.

The prototype technologies to be developed include beam control, high energy lasers, adaptive optics, sensors, fire support and target tracking. They will be able to directly increase mission effectiveness of the US military personnel, in addition to the supporting platforms, systems, components or materials proposed to be procured or developed by the US Army. Work is expected to be carried out at several Kratos facilities and government locations in Huntsville, Alabama, US..


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, Mark. "Iron Dome: A Missile Shield That Works". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "PORCUPINE C-RAM - DETAIL - Leonardo - Aerospace, Defence and Security". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "DRACO - DETAIL - Leonardo - Aerospace, Defence and Security". Archived from the original on 21 December 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ "A Laser Phalanx?". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Williams, Dan (19 January 2014). "Israel plans laser interceptor 'Iron Beam' for short-range rockets". JERUSALEM: Reuters. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b RAFAEL Develops a New High Energy Laser Weapon | Defense Update:
  8. ^ Israeli company to unveil laser defense |
  9. ^ Israel's Rafael to unveil laser-based defense system - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News | Haaretz
  10. ^ "Royal Artillery Careers". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Other operational commitments are conducted (in the tertiary role) using C-RAM - a new and highly sensitive self defense system which destroys rockets and projectiles in flight. Applicable to Gunner Rapier applicants only.
  11. ^ "16th Air Land Regiment, RAA". Australian Army. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Flugabwehrgruppe 61" [Air Defence Group 61] (in German). Luftwaffe (German Air Force). Retrieved 5 September 2017.

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