Our Defense Tech contributor who keeps a close eye on the Middle East, Aharon Etengoff of Weaponsurvey, reports:
The Israeli Defense Ministry holds high-level talks with the Pentagon on purchasing the Phalanx B, or C-RAM, a rapid-fire cannon to protect strategic installations against Palestinian projectiles. It should be noted that the C-RAM (manufactured by Raytheon) is fully operational and available for immediate deployment.
The C-RAM is a radar-controlled gun adapted from a US Navy original, which can fire 4,500 rounds a minute and destroy incoming mortar bombs before impact. According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the Land-based Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS) "is a reconfigured variant of the widely sold Phalanx 20 mm shipborne close-in weapon system [that] combines a 20 mm M61A1 Gatling gun with a Ku-band search-and-track radar featuring closed loop spotting."
Sean Osborne, Associate Director of NEIN Military Affairs & NEIN Blog:
"The C-RAM is deployed at US FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) all over Iraq - not just in the so-called Green Zone. C-RAMs success rate in shooting mortar rounds and other incoming indirect ordnance out of the sky is better than 85% according to data I've received from those who've installed these systems in Iraq. C-RAM counter-fires which miss the incoming target do not simply fall to ground - each 20mm round is fused to self-destruct if contact is not made with the target.
The IDF Research & Development Directorate's (MAFAT) refusal to acquire and deploy the C-RAM system in defense of Sderot or other Israeli towns is several echelons below unfortunate, and appears to be couched in political considerations which have nothing to do with the suffering of the citizens of Sderot. The non-acquisition is sending a message of abandonment to the women and children of Sderot who are under severe traumatic stress and psychological pressures not unlike that of soldiers in combat."
"This is a very effective system for protecting strategic installations...It covers a radius of up to a kilometer and would be ideal for protecting key installations like power plants and IDF bases."
IDF Chief Intelligence Officer Brig.-Gen. Yuval Halamish:
"This [Palestinian rockets] is a close-to-home threat that has an impact on the home front as well as the national morale...Our ability to deal with this threat is difficult until being almost impossible in certain places."