C-Ram Centurion Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar Defense System Star Wars Kabul Rocket
Photo credit: The Daily Mail
Nicknamed “R2-D2” by US military forces, the Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) defense system was used to thwart an early Monday morning attack aimed at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. It’s capable of detecting and destroying incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets, or simply provide an early warning. Read more for two videos and additional information.

C-RAM’s intercept capability is basically a land version of weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS radar-controlled rapid-fire gun for close-in protection of vessels from missiles, utilizing a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera to allow a defender to visually identify these target threats before engaging the targets. There is however one major difference between the land- and sea-based variants of C-RAM, and that is the choice of ammunition. The land-based version uses the 20mm HEIT-SD (high-explosive incendiary tracer, self-destruct) ammunition, originally developed for the M163 Vulcan air defense system, which explode on impact with the target.

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The force protection C-RAM did work. It did engage and had effect on the one, and then one did land in an area, and it was not effective,” said Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations.