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Subject: Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM
Iano    12/27/2004 1:20:16 PM
Hi there, can anyone tell me why the Royal Navy uses both Phalanx and Goalkeeper as CIWS's? Seems that Goalkeeper is more likely to be fitted on capital ships whilst Phalanx is more likely to be fitted to frigates or destroyers. Why go to the trouble of 2 systems and the training and support that requires when one could do both jobs? Anyone know which is better, I heard the USN held trials and concluded Goalkeeper is better as it can counter armoured warheads of antiship missiles and can fire proximity fuzed shells, however they are going ahead with Phalanx modifications regardless, also I heard Goalkeeper needs to be built into the structure of the ship extensively whilst Phalanx can be simply welded on? Also does anyone know of Sea RAM, I saw some pics of it fitted to an RN warship, however I can't remember which. Is this going to replace the gun part of Phalanx in the RN, or just supplement it? As Seawolf can be employed as an antimissile missile it seems wasteful to procure 2 of these systems as well as 2 CIWS's! Also Seawolf, is it intended for use as a point air defence missile or as a CIWS. I read somewhere that it has a range of 10km which suggests AAW, but also that it has intercepted 4.5in shells which suggests CIWS. Thanks everyone Ian
 
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spsun10000    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 2:35:08 PM
The Royal Navy purchased 28 Phalanx to provide a CIWS capability to the Type 42 destroyers in the late 1980's after the sinking of two (one by an AM 39 air launched Exocet and the other by conventional bombing) exposed their weakness in this regard. They were also fitted to one of the RN's carries and to the assault ship HMS Fearless. As Type 42 numbers have been reduced and Fearless has left service spare Phalanx mounts have been fitted to other warships (as you say they are a bolt on system). They have been fitted to HMS Ocean and the RFA's Fort George and Fort Victoria. The RFA's were built to carry VLS Seawolf for self protection but this capability has never been activated. Goalkeeper is a more capable but more expensive system than phalanx. For a start it is 30mm viz 20mm for the Phalanx so presumably the larger shells have a better chance of penetration. Goalkeeper is fitted to two CV's and HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. To save money Phalanx will be refitted from Type 42 destroyers to the Type 45 destroyers rather than procuring a more modern system. Seawolf is anti missile capable and is being upgraded to further enhance this capability. However, it requires a sophisticated combat control system and fire control directors. This incurs considerable cost and weight. RAM is an autonomous 'bolt on' system that can provide point defence. It can come in its own launcher or be fitted in a Phalanx mount replacing the 20mm cannon but utilising the radar already on the mount. It is therefore particularly suitable for auxiliaries, corvettes or small combatants where a sophisticated system such as Seawolf would be too expensive. One of the Type 42 Batch 3 (HMS Edinburgh??) did trial the phalanx mounted version of RAM at the manufacturers expense. Rule Britannia recently stated that the RN still aspired to upgrade the phalanx mounts on the Type 45's in this way in due course. As ever though, finance will no doubt be the primary driver for that decision. There has been talk of giving Phalanx and Goalkeeper a capability against small vessels such as speedboats to protect against suicide bombings. Not sure if that has actually happened. Steve
 
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Iano    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 2:44:05 PM
So what we are actually looking at, for the foreseeable future at least, is 4 separate CIWSs? Shouldn't the MoD look at what is most capable against the most likely threats and make a decision, rather than buying different systems in a quite random seeming way.
 
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Yimmy    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 2:48:16 PM
As far as I'm aware both Phalanx and Goalkeeper are effective against small surface targets, being both capable of tracking them and capable of depressing to shoot them. They are a command weapon, which means they require command authorisation to fire, as against, say, an SA80 in the hands of a sailor who will often be cleared to fire on his own initiative. For information, Goalkeeper is also fitted to the T22/batch3 frigates. Sea Wolf is a point defence missile system, the layer outwards from a CIWS..
 
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Iano    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 2:58:02 PM
So now there are 4 layers, combat air patrol (Sea Harriers), area air defence (Sea Dart), point air defence (Sea Wolf), and CIWS's (Phalanx, Goalkeeper & Sea RAM)?
 
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HorribleSailor    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 3:04:12 PM
Apologies, Yimmy's post was actually me forgetting to sign in. Yes Ian, you're quite right, those are the generally identified layers of naval air defence, although individual platforms rarely carry all 4!.
 
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Iano    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 3:11:52 PM
Yes I can imagine they dont! What about the "theater missile defence" missiles like the latest Standard the USN and South Korean Navy wants to have for capability against ICBMs, satellites and extremely long air defence. Any ideas if the RN has got anything like that up its sleeve for the future? Also is right that they still give sailors rifles and get them to shoot at anything incoming? I know thats how it worked in the past but in the days of CIWS I wouldve thought if a CIWS cant get it, an SA80 wont! Seems like exposing more of the ships complement to danger for no benefit?
 
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HorribleSailor    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 3:19:55 PM
When talking about rifles I was talking more about defence against small boats / divers etc, when you need as many eyes as possible searching for threats and may not have time to react / want to over-react. As far as I'm aware the RN has no plans for a theatre missile defence at present, which means if it does exist it's either pretty secret or not very advanced..
 
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spsun10000    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 4:00:06 PM
The Type 45 has the capability to be fitted with the US Mk41 VLS so could in theory be able to undertake TBMD at some point in future. I guess the technology has to mature somewhat and we would have to find the money. Well pointed out re. Goalkeeper on the Type 22 Batch 3 - I'd forgotten about that! As to standardisation - every Navy is a mix of ships built over 20 - 30 years and if particular categories of weapons develop over shorter tiome periods then you will end up with a number of systems to do the same role. If you take the USN for example they have Phalanx, RAM and ESSM all undertaking the point defence/CIWS role. Steve
 
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fitz    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 6:29:26 PM
Phalanx was purchased as a stop-gap and details have already been given below. The advantage of Phalanx at that time was that it was available (Goalkeeper was not) and relativley simple to install as a retrofit to existing ships(Sea Wolf and Goalkeeper are not). The RN eventually determined that both Goalkeeper and Phalanx were inadequate as point defense anti-missile systems and has been shopping around for a replacement capability with varying levels of enthusiasm. Something more compact, simpler and cheaper than Sea Wolf - which essentially has to be designed into the firing platform.
 
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bsl    RE:Phalanx vs Goalkeeper vs Seawolf vs Sea RAM   12/27/2004 11:45:01 PM
CIWS and RAM aren't exactly the same. RAM have a longer range. The two types of weapon can compliment each other, providing a deeper, layered defense. I could see having both on larger, higher value platforms.
 
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