This node is fictional. Refer to Continental Class Space Battleships.
The CIWS (Close-In Weapons System) is a Continental Class battleship's primary defensive system. It actively intercepts incoming missiles and/or unguided projectiles in the ship's immediate vicinity (at a distance of less than 150 kilometres), trying to reduce the threat they pose by fragmenting and/or vaporising them entirely or partially by the kinetic energy of the impact. The CIWS consists of two subsystems:
- MIM-6 "Dasher" missile interceptor missile for targets with an ETI (Estimated Time to Impact) of 8 seconds or more
- EPG-5 "Fragger" explosive-propulsion gun system for targets with an ETI between 1 and 8 seconds
The MIM-6 "Dasher" is launched in the overall direction of the target and boosts for six seconds, then goes ballistic at a terminal velocity of a little more than one kilometre per second. Its warhead is a bundle of stack gun tubes full of ceramic projectiles which is fired on command or by the missile's proximity detector, creating a cone-shaped shrapnel cloud. The earlier the engagement takes place, the higher are the chances for the Dasher to successfully reduce the incoming threat. At ETIs higher than a few minutes, it is more practical and more effective to fire defensive torpedoes from the ship's torpedo tubes. 9 Dashers are packaged 3x3 in each launch container.
The EPG-5 "Fragger" is a 16x16 tube stack gun container that fires semi-guided 40 mm projectiles (28 per tube). Guidance is done by a rather dumb embedded radar chip in the projectile's nose. It must be dumb, robust and without any moving parts because, as in any stack gun, every bullet seals the tube behind the powder cartridge for the bullet on top. A dozen small, quick-burning thrusters can be fired by this chip to make the projectile veer. The fragmentation charge inside is either fired on command or by the radar chip. Much smarter projectiles have been successfully tested, however, the Confederate Navy has determined that their cost/efficience ratio is already way past the point of diminishing returns.
One Dasher container and two Fragger containers, housed in a spherical rapid-traverse pod ("ball turret"), make up one CIWS emplacement. Usually, most of the sphere is visible from outside. However, the pod can be retracted almost completely into a pit, to allow reloading; a shipside machinery pulls the empty expendable containers and inserts new ones. Reloading a CIWS turret takes 11 seconds maximum.
The turrets also contain all the necessary radar systems and computers to aim and direct their weapons. Fire control usually just arms certain CIWS turrets on demand and disarms them when all threats have disappeared from their field of vision. A direct control mode is also available, yet hardly used.
A Continental Class battleship has 16 CIWS emplacements:
- Four vertical ones along the dorsal centreline
- Four vertical ones along the ventral centreline ("keel")
- Four horizontal ones along the port side
- Four horizontal ones along the starboard side
It is noteworthy that the CIWS hardly ever completely neutralise a threat. Usually, a debris cone or a high-speed vapour cloud remains. The ship's layered armour is however far better suited to absorb small debris or vapour than larger objects such as kill vehicles. Fragmentation of an incoming missile also usually ensures that all active guidance systems or warheads become inoperational.