Afghan War
 News Blog

Current News

Military Websites

Government Websites

General Information

Blogs on Afghan War

Blogs by Military


Books on Afghanistan
 by Amazon.com

Site Map




Afghan War News > Equipment > Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar System (C-RAM)

C-RAM or Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar System

The insurgents have used indirect fire (IDF) weapons such as 107mm rockets and mortars to attack small combat outposts (COPs) and larger forward operating bases (FOBs) in Afghanistan. An early warning system to protect the personnel living and working on the COPs and FOBs is called the C-RAM.

Seven C-RAM Functions. The functions that C-RAMs provide include sense, warn, respond, intercept, C2, shape, and protect.

C-RAM Firing on Test Range

A Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) system firing on a test firing range in the United States.
(Photo: U.S. Army)

C-RAM Component Systems.

1. Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) and Air and Missile Defense Workstation (AMDWS) for C2;
2. Lightweight Counter Mortar Radars (LCMR), Firefinder Radars, and Ka-band Multi-Function Radio Frequency Systems (MFRFS) for sense;
3. Land-based Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS) and emerging Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative (AI3) for intercept;
4. Wireless warn;
5. Local Area Network (LAN) (wireless) for comms integration of all components.

Early Warning. The C-RAM uses multiple types of radars and cameras to sense and warn of incoming projectiles. Once it detects incoming projectiles it will sound an alarm over a loud speaker system. The audible alarm gives personnel the opportunity to seek protective cover.

Land-based Phalanx Weapons System (LPWS). The LPWS will work in conjunction with the C-RAMs. In addition the C-RAM's automated systems will feed information to artillery personnel who can then conduct counterfire against the Point of Origin (POO) of the incoming rounds. Currently (Summer 2013) the LPWS is deployed in only a few locations in Afghanistan. The LPWS will shoot an incoming rocker or mortar round out of the sky so it will not hit its intended target. The LPWS is a system adapted from a similar naval system used to defend aircraft carriers and other naval ships on the ocean. The Phalanx fires a burst of 20 millimeter, self detonating rounds. The LPWS has been deployed in Iraq in a similar land-based mode.

Gatling Gun. The LPWS will automatically fire a 20mm M61A1 Gatling gun. The land-based system uses shells fused to self-destruct in the air to avoid civilian casualties.

C-RAM firing its 20-mm Gatling gun
A C-RAM firing its 20-mm Gatling Gun (photo by CPL Daniel Eddy)

Integration with Other Systems. The C-RAM is designed to be integrated into an overall air defense system. For instance, the Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 (EQ-36) Radar System 1. is one of the systems that is designed to work in conjunction with the C-RAM.

R2-D2. Some Soldier affectionally refer to the Gatling gun of the C-RAMs as R2-D2 because the weapons turret resembles the shape of the Star Wars robot as well as its sophisticated and automated firing system.

Contractors. The initial contract for deployment of the C-RAM was announced in December 2009. 2. The hardware, integration, and contractor logisitics support is provided by Northrup Grumman. The LPWS is provided by Raytheon Missile Systems. The Lightweight Counter Mortar Radars (LCMR) is provided by SRCTec, Inc. of Syracuse, NY. Hardware and software components are provided by General Dynamics.

Foreign Military Sales. Thus far (Summer 2013) sales of the C-RAMs have been made to Australia and the United Kingdom.

Only Defensive Components Deployed. The defensive components of the C-RAM has been extensively deployed in Afghanistan. However, the offensive punch of the C-RAM (the Gatling Gun) has only been deployed in a few locations (just recently in Summer 2013).

Israel's Iron Dome. The C-RAM functions in a way similar to the anti-rocket defense system deployed around Israel cities - referred to as the Iron Dome.

Websites about C-RAM

Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar. By Wikipedia.

Videos about C-RAM

August 31, 2013. "Keeping Shank Safe". DVIDS. Video shows Soldier who operates the Phalanx Weapons system on FOB Shank.

April 19, 2013. "Counter Rocket and Mortar System (C-RAM) Demo". YouTube.com. Video by Air Defense Artillery School, Fort Sill.

January 31, 2012. "Centurion weapon system C-RAM Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar System". News report about Raytheon fielding of mobile C-RAMs.

January 31, 2011. "Measures to protect troops in Afghanistan". ADF Media.  Video depicts Australian efforts to protect troops with C-RAM deployment.

May 29, 2007. "Mortar-Zapping Gun Test". Video of C-RAM firing.

Publications about C-RAM

Guy, CPT Edmund A., "C-RAM and IFPC: The way ahead", Fires Bulletin, July-August 2010. Author states we need to further develop plans for an Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) program.

Kopp, Dr. Carlo, "Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar futures", Defence Today, October 2010. A three page journal article on counter-rocket technologies.

News Articles about the C-RAM

March 8, 2014. "Protecting the Force". DVIDS. Story on 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment from Fort Campbell tasked with providing base defense against the indirect fire threat at Bagram Air Field with their C-RAM weapon system.

July 27, 2013. "US Soldiers increase base defense measures on FOB Shank". Regional Command East. C-RAM is used for early warning of rocket and mortar attacks.

July 26, 2013. "'Storm' anti-artillery called on when rockets fall on 'Rocket City'". Stars and Stripes. FOB Shank in Logar province is called "Rocket City" by its inhabitants because of the almost daily rocket attacks by the insurgents. The offensive component of the C-RAM is "finally" deployed to FOB Shank; some question why it took a couple of years of daily rocket attacks to figure out this solution.

June 10, 2013. "US Army soldiers prepare for Afghan deployment with C-RAM live fire drill". army-technology.com. 44th ADA personnel will soon deploy to Afghanistan.

November 23, 2012. "Israel's Iron Dome Exposes Misguided US Missile Defense", Human Events. Article highlights the effectiveness of C-RAM and attacks the White House and Pentagon political decision not to deploy the systems to Afghanistan.

October 19, 2012. "DoD pushes back on McKeon's demands for weapons systems in Afghanistan". The Hill Blog. Pentagon states that C-RAM is not an effective system.

October 19, 2012. "Pentagon: Counter-Battery System unneeded in Afghanistan". Defence Tech Blog. DoD states that the C-RAM system linked to a land-based version of the Navy's Phalanx rapid-fire CIWS (Close-In Weapons System) is not needed in Afghanistan.

October 18, 2012. "McKeon presses White House on why life-saving system not deployed in Afghanistan". Fox News. Questions lack of counter-battery capability.

October 18, 2012. "McKeon Asks Why Life Saving System Not Deployed in Afghanistan". Armed Services Committee Press Release.

April 27, 2012. "C-RAM transforms defense tactics". Soldier of Fortune.

March 11, 2011. "C-RAM in Afghanistan". Australian  Department of Defence News.

February 2, 2011. "Australia Deploys C-RAM Radar to Australia". Defence Talk. The C-RAM Sense and Warn system will be deployed to Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province.

February 1, 2011. "Rocket warnings saving Diggers". The Australian National Affairs.

October 3, 2010. "GOP lawmakers say troop cap in Afghanistan invites attacks". The Washington Times. Cite lack of C-RAM personnel deployment as a problem area.

August 31, 2010. "Northrop to operate C-RAM in Afghanistan". UPI.com.

April 11, 2009. "C-RAM: The Art of Winning the Peace?" Think Defence. A detailed article about the benefits of C-RAM and anti-missile, rocket, and mortar defense; . . . a critique of the Israeli government for sticking with the "Iron Dome" instead of purchasing a low-cost and proven capability.

May 13, 2008. "Joint fires team helps Army improve force protection training". JFCOM.





1. For more info on the EQ-36 Radar System see  a fact sheet posted on the OSD.mil website. www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/FY2011/pdf/army/2011eq36.pdf

2. Solicitation for the acquisition of sense and warn and communications network for locations in Afghanistan. Click here to see the details on FedBizOpps.gov.



All external sites open up in an new window.  Please report any broken links or inaccuracies in content to the webmaster at staff@afghanwarnews.info.