Surface Forces: Goalkeepers Get Gone


September 22, 2012: Britain is seeking to sell off the fifteen 30mm Goalkeeper autocannon systems it bought 25 years ago. The sale is necessary because the weapons are on ships that were recently, or are about to be, retired.

Goalkeeper was purchased after the 1982 war in the Falklands, where several British ships were lost because they lacked anti-missile defenses. While Goalkeeper proved satisfactory, no more were purchased. Instead, the American Phalanx was used, and is still being bought for new ships. Phalanx weighs a third less (at 6.2 tons) and has a longer range (4 kilometers). Because many more Phalanx are in service they are more frequently updated and upgraded and have an even better record of effectiveness and reliability.

Goalkeeper is a 9.9 ton system (including 1,190 rounds of ammo) that is mounted on ships to shoot down incoming missiles or hit small surface craft. The system actually uses seven 30mm barrels that, together can fire up to 70 rounds a second. The Dutch designed and built Goalkeeper uses the American Gau-8 autocannon, the same one used in the U.S. Air Force A-10 ground attack aircraft. Goalkeeper is very similar to the U.S. Phalanx system. Both systems entered service in 1980. Both use built in radar that has software that enables the system to be turned on and automatically fire on any fast (as an anti-ship missile) approaching object. Goalkeeper can hit targets out to 2,000 meters away and its radar has a range of 30 kilometers.

There is a market for second-hand weapons of this type, especially for navies that do not have anti-missile weapons on some of their ships and want to obtain that kind of protection inexpensively.


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