The Royal Australian Navy’s upgraded Mark 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) has achieved initial operating capability (IOC) for HMAS Sydney, representing a key milestone.

The system has been delivered on schedule and will be progressively rolled out until late 2023 across the navy’s destroyers, amphibious ships, and new supply class tankers.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Phalanx CIWS delivers improved lethality and a broader range of protection for navy ships in fast-moving combat situations.

“The first system, which incorporates the upgrade to Block 1B Baseline 2 of the Phalanx system, has already been installed into HMAS Sydney which will ensure she enters service as Australia’s most potent and capable warship.

“The system significantly boosts HMAS Sydney’s self defence capability, providing new generation technology to navy vessels and ensuring the highest levels of protection from modern systems.”

Reynolds further added that this achievement reflects Australia’s shipbuilding capability and demonstrates the success of the government’s $90bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

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The upgraded Phalanx CIWS is expected to create opportunities for Australian businesses to benefit from the government’s investment in a sovereign shipbuilding capability.

Last year, the second unit of the upgraded system was delivered. It will be used to provide comprehensive training in the country with support from local industry and increasing self-reliance in the training pipeline.

This year, Australia started a Diploma of Digital Technology shipbuilding course as part of the Naval Shipbuilding Plan. It will help connect workers and information systems to build the $35bn Hunter Class Frigate Programme.