Ft. Sill Soldiers Train On New Air Defense Weapon

by Blake Moren, CTCN Community Correspondant
 One of the key elements of air defense is that it is often the last line of defense. At Fort Sill, the 5-5th Air Defense Artillery Battalion of the 31st Air Defense Brigade and the Texas National Brigade conducted a Mission Readiness Exercise on June 20.
 A land-based weapon system, The Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS), also known as a Counter Rocket and Mortar System (C-RAM) is the weapon these soldiers were using during the exercise. The LPWS is capable of intercepting short-ranged threats like drones, artillery and mortars.
 The soldiers trained for two months.
 First Lt. Nischal Mali said that they will “be able to protect whatever team or assets they have on the ground. They’re good.”
 The LPWS uses a M61A1 20mm Gatling rapid-fire anti-air gun. This gun is capable of fire control and onboard target acquisition. It can also shoot up to 4,500 rounds per minute. This is 75 rounds per second. Typically, only 300 rounds are fired.
 According to St. Alejandro Gutierraz, the LPWS is “very fast.”
 This weapon is designed to protect American bases and assets. It comes at a cost, though. Due to the ammunition it uses, it costs around $12,000. The ammunition is also designed to self-destruct after 6,600 feet. This eliminates the risk of collateral damage to infrastructure, civilians and the environment.
 The heart of the LPWS is the Engagement Operation Center (EOC), a radar system that can detect any short-range threats in a designated zone, then immediately informs the gun crew.
 Specialist Arturo Echeverria said the EOC is the “mind, the brain, of the operation.”