The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of the potential foreign military sale of MK 15 Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2 Close-in Weapons System (CIWS) Guns to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Under the estimated $154.9m sale, Saudi Arabia has requested for MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 1B Baseline 2 kits, equipment, training, and logistics support, as well as upgrades and modifications to five MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 0 systems.
The Block 0 systems are currently installed on the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ (RSNF) four patrol chaser missile (PCG) ships in their Eastern Fleet, with one system located at its Naval Forces School.
Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Arizona, US, has been selected as the prime contractor for the sale.
Approved by the US state Department and subject to law, the sale is expected to bolster Saudi Arabia’s self-defence capabilities for surface combatants, supporting both national and multi-national naval operations. It will also enhance the durability of the existing PCG class ships.
Phalanx is an anti-ship missile system that defends vessels and their crews from threats, including helicopters, floating mines and standard and guided artillery, in addition to a range of shore-launched, anti-ship missiles.
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The rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar integrates the 20mm gun system, and is capable of automatically acquiring, tracking and destroying enemy hazards that have infiltrated other defence systems on vessels.
Image: Raytheon Missile Systems’ Phalanx Block 1B close-in weapon system (CIWS). Photo: courtesy of Hpeterswald.