C-RAMs deployed to Iraq
July 15, 2020 - The U.S. has deployed C-RAM air defence systems at its embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone to counter an escalation of rocket attacks by Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia forces.
Tensions between the United States and Iranian-led militias have been building for months since a U.S. drone strike killed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3. The attack also killed Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, commander of the Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) militia.
Following the deaths of Soleimani and Muhandis, an alliance of KH, Popular Mobilization Forces, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and the Iraqi nationalist Shi’a cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, has vowed to force the U.S. to leave Iraq.
Iran’s militia proxies have been responsible for at least 25 rocket and mortar attacks on U.S. and U.S.-led coalition personnel since then. The U.S. Army responded by deploying Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems to Erbil and Ain al-Assad bases. An anonymous senior Iraqi security source confirmed to AFP that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad tested a C-RAM system on July 4.
The system employs dual antennas to track targets. The primary radar continually scans for incoming threats and measures a potential target’s bearing, speed, and trajectory. Once that system confirms the incoming risk, the secondary targeting system takes over control of a six-barreled, 20mm Gatlin gun that can fire up to 75 rounds per second.
The C-RAM uses M940 MPT-SD (multi-purpose tracer, self-destroying) ammunition. The self-destroying feature prevents live ammunition from coming down on friendly areas and personnel. A single $5.4 million C-RAM system can reportedly defend a 1.2 square kilometre area from airborne threats with a 60 to 70 per cent shoot-down rate.
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