How do C-RAM systems work? (Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar)



In: Technology

They use radar to track the small incoming projectiles and then a guided gun to shoot apart the projectiles. They are very similar to the various close-in defense systems used on capital ships.

Think of the C-RAM system as a really big gun that can shoot a lot of big bullets at an extremely high rate of fire. Now, attach a computer, a radar, and an infrared camera to the big gun and point it towards an area where you’re expecting indirect fire munitions to be coming from.

Once the computer detects an object within its radar’s proximity, it asks itself three questions:

1. Is it coming towards me or going away from me? If it’s going away from me, it’s probably not my business. If it’s coming towards me, go to step 2.
2. Is the object’s trajectory going to hit me or near me? If not, leave it alone. If it’s going to hit me or hit close to me, go to step 3.
3. Is the object going above a certain minimum speed and/or below a certain maximum speed? If it’s too slow, it’s probably not a rocket, artillery, or mortar round, and so I won’t fire. If it’s too fast, it’s beyond my capabilities to actually track it, and so I won’t fire. But if it’s fast enough to be indirect fire munition and slow enough for me to track, then I will begin firing at the object.

Once the object is now longer moving within the radar’s range, the C-RAM will go to the next target.

For clarity, C-RAMs are land-based big guns that are copies of the big guns they put on warships, which are called CIWS (Close-In Weapons Systems). C-RAMS fire big solid bullets made of tungsten to hopefully penetrate the incoming projectile and cause it detonate before reaching its target. The CIWS big guns that are installed on ships shoot high-explosive bullets that explode in midair right before reaching their target to attempt the damage or destroy the incoming projectiles with shrapnel before they reach their target.

Some defense contractors are also fielding laser-based C-RAMS that track incoming projectiles and focus a high-energy laser beam on them to detonate/destroy them in midair, as opposed to shooting bullets at the incoming projectile.

Well that depends on which c-ram system you are talking about, because there are different types of C-ram systems out there, and even more if you consider those who are currently under development.

But generally speaking, those system usally consists of a few main systems working together in sync, and those are:
radar which identify the launch or the flight of the enemy rocket/missle/drone/shell, a computer then calculates the flight path its going to take, and also at least in some systems like israel’s iron dome it also knows approximately where its going to hit, That’s to asses how dangerous it is, because if its going to land in the middle of a desert its not worth interception (which can be costly).

Then the next step is using an interceptor, this can be a missile that explodes near it (and thefore blows it up in the air), or heavy round bullets that directly hit it, or an high energy laser that heats it up to explosion.

Those interceptors hit the hostile target or close enough to it by going to where its going to be in a given point in time (according to the flight route the computer of the system calculated) and correctly timing the interceptor.

There are also different developments on c-ram counter measure to overwhelm those systems.

Have you ever played Missile Command? There is a missile incoming (or several). It has a certain speed, a certain direction and to become good at the game you have to learn to predict where you have to aim your anti-missile missiles so that your explosions destroy the incoming missile.

Now imagine that it’s 3D, the game area covers several miles or more and you’re trying to hit “missiles” that can travel as fast as a kilometer per second.

Well. C-RAM is basically a combination of three things:

* A computer that’s basically really good at this three-dimensional Missile Command (Like OP Aim-bot cheater good. You have to be that good to have a chance at destroying stuff flying that fast).
* A radar so that the computer can see the incoming missiles. Few things look like rockets&mortar shells (nothing but meteors is that fast, that size and travels ballisticly) so it’s pretty easy for a radar to recognize the right stuff.
* A real gun or missile system connected to that computer so that the computer can shoot stuff down. This is either some kind of automatic cannon (firing lots of small explosive shells), medium sized cannon (firing fewer shells but with more range and bigger explosions) or missiles (the most range, the biggest explosions but they take more time and you have the fewest shells). Generally automatic cannons are best for mortar and artillery shells while missiles are mostly useful against rockets.