Navy picks Raytheon to upgrade, sustain, and overhaul Gatling gun missile-defense for surface warships

April 10, 2023
CIWS provides radar-guided shipboard air defense against low- and high-flying high-speed anti-ship missiles that have penetrated all other defenses.

WASHINGTON – Shipboard weapons experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will upgrade and overhaul computer-controlled and radar-guided missile-defense systems that help protect surface warships from anti-ship missiles, manned aircraft, and drones under terms of a $113.6 million order announced late last month.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for MK 15 Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) upgrade, conversion, overhaul, and hardware.

CIWS is a fast-reaction radar-guided terminal shipboard air defense against low- and high-flying, high-speed maneuvering anti-ship missile threats that have penetrated all other defenses. It's a high-volume Gatling gun, deployed since the early 1980s, designed to throw out a curtain of bullets that shred incoming missiles and aircraft.

At sea, the CIWS is designed to defeat anti-ship missiles and other close-in threats that have pierced other lines of defense. It also has a land use as a counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar system that detects and destroys incoming rounds.

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A self-contained package, the CIWS (pronounced "Sea-WIZ") shipboard weapons automatically handle search, detection, threat evaluation, tracking, engagement, and kill assessment aboard surface warships. The Block 1B version of the system adds control stations that enable operators to track and identify targets visually before engagement.

The 1B variant's configuration augments the CIWS anti-air warfare capability by adding a forward-looking infrared sensor for use against helicopters and high-speed surface craft at sea. The CIWS is installed on all U.S. Navy surface combatant ship classes and on those of 24 allied nations.

On this contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson and Tempe, Ariz.; Mason, Ohio; Williston, Vt.; Hauppauge, N.Y.; Joplin, Mo.; Radford, Va.; Palo Alto, Valencia, Irvine, and Van Nuys, Calif.; Andover, Mass.; and at other locations, and should be finished by September 2026.

For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at, or Naval Sea Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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