Centurion C-RAM defends US Embassy in Baghdad from hostile projectiles

Sirens went off at the US Embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the Centurion C-RAM missile defense system on the territory of the diplomatic mission deflects the attack, says the local media. As per a source, the missile defense system at the embassy was activated due to the suspicion of the appearance of an unknown object in the sky over the diplomatic mission, presumably a drone.

C-RAM stands for “counter rocket, artillery, and mortar,” which is an Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) weapons system. The Centurion C-RAM system is developed by Raytheon in 2004 and is similar to the Israeli Iron Dome system in principle. Centurion was adapted directly from the Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS). 

The first Centurion Mobile Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System (MLPWS) was dispatched to Iraq in late 2006 and protects the Green Zone, which is a large area in Baghdad turned into an American base. C-RAM is capable of knocking down 70-80 percent of the rockets and mortar shells fired within range of its cannon. Centurion has been successfully taking down hostile projectiles since its deployment. Centurion Weapon System fires self-destruct rounds to minimize collateral damage.

As per Raytheon literature, Phalanx combines a proven 20 mm M61A1 Gatling gun, firing M-246 or M-940 self-destruct rounds at a selectable rate of 3,000 or 4,500 shots per minute, with an advanced search and track Ku-band radar featuring closed-loop spotting technology to provide autonomous target detection and engagement.

The Centurion can be mounted on a trailer or the rear side of the Oshkosh truck. In October 2008, Raytheon and Oshkosh unveiled the Mobile Centurion, which mounts the system on a hybrid-electric HEMTT A3 heavy truck.

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