New Zealand: Anzac Class Frigate Successfully Test Fires PHALANX Close-In Weapons System


HMNZS TE MANA has successfully test-fired her Close in Weapons System (CIWS) during exercises in the South China Sea.

The CIWS (also known as a Phalanx) is a 6 barreled radar controlled 20mm machine gun that can fire up to 75 rounds of hardened steel bullets a second (4500 per minute).  The purpose of the firing was to calibrate the CIWS radar tracking system to ensure accuracy.  Four firings were undertaken, with a total of 550 rounds fired.

The weapon is designed as last-line of defence against Anti-Ship Missiles and other air targets.  If a target isn’t destroyed at long-range by the ships missile system the CIWS fires a curtain of bullets to destroy the target as it closes in on the ship.

TE MANA’s Phalanx was upgraded in 2010 to improve its fire-control system, giving it the ability to target fast-moving surface targets, such as speedboats, as well as missiles and other air targets.  An upgraded Phalanx will be fitted to TE KAHA later this year.

HMNZS TE MANA and TE KAHA are participating in a Five Powers Defence Arrangements Exercise in the waters of South East Asia.

The multi-national Exercise named Bersama Shield, involving 1 submarine, 9 ships, 57 fixed wing aircraft (including 8 F-18s, 4 MIG 29s, and 16 F-16s), 5 maritime helicopters and a variety of air and land-based support elements from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

The Five Power Defence Arrangements provide a framework for defence co-operation between Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom, and came into being on 1 November 1971.
Source: RNZN, May 13, 2011;