The U.S. Navy has developed a video camera (with 18:1 zoom and night
vision) for its Phalanx 20mm automatic cannon. This system is a final defense
against anti-ship missiles. As originally designed, you turned Phalanx on
whenever the ship was likely to have an anti-ship missile fired at it. The
Phalanx radar can spot incoming missiles out to about 5,000 meters, and the
20mm cannon is effective out to about 2,000 meters. With incoming missiles
moving a up to several hundred meters a second, you can see why Phalanx is set
to automatic. There's simply not much time for human intervention.
2003, there have been two major Phalanx mods. In one, the Phalanx was adapted
to use on land, to shoot down incoming
rockets. This was done by using a larger artillery spotting radar, which
directs Phalanx to fire at incoming
mortar shells and rockets. Not all the incoming stuff is hit, but nearly 80
percent of it is, and every little bit helps.
mod is for shipboard use, and changes the software so the Phalanx can be used
against small boats, especially those of the suicide bomber variety. This is
where the ALMTV (Phalanx All-Light Marine TV) attachment comes in. With the
software modification and ALMTV, Phalanx becomes a complete defense against
small boats. There are nearly 600
Phalanx systems installed in warships worldwide.