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Has a CIWS system ever shot down a missile in combat?

History Asked on December 21, 2020

Has any Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) successfully intercepted and shot down a missile in combat? Surely they have had the chance to, for example Phalanx systems were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. But besides mortar shells, are there any confirmed successful intercepts against rockets and missiles?

2 Answers

I witnessed the Israeli Iron Dome system, a missile-based C-RAM (ie. CIWS on land), working very well against rocket attacks. In 2015 I was in Israel working on a project near Tel Aviv. Rockets were being fired from Gaza regularly. The Iron Dome worked perfectly several times during the 3 months that I was there. The system would not fire an interceptor missile unless it determined that the rocket's trajectory was towards a populated area. Many of them just exploded harmlessly in the desert.

Answered by Bham Bass on December 21, 2020

Although both the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), and its land-based counterpart Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar, (C-RAM) have both been deployed in combat zones, I can find no record of either system being used to defend against an actual attack by rockets or missiles.

There was an incident during the 1991 Gulf War where the Phalanx CIWS engaged what was believed to be an Iraqi Silkworm missile, but that turned out to be a false alarm.

(A few weeks earlier, HMS Gloucester had used a Sea Dart missile to shoot down an Iraqi Silkworm missile that was targeting the battleship USS Missouri. This is believed to be the first successful missile vs. missile engagement at sea in combat).

Answered by sempaiscuba on December 21, 2020

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