In the midst of the evacuation from Afghanistan, last Monday, as the US withdrawal from Kabul was advancing towards its conclusion scheduled for the next day – August 31 – it was reported that ISIS-K – the Afghan branch of the Islamic State – was launching a new attack: at least half a dozen artillery rockets of caliber 107 millimeters were heading to the Hamid Karzai International Airport .
According to some reports, one of these rockets arched before reaching its target and crashed into the streets of Kabul, but its five ‘brothers’ were heading straight for Kabul International Airport , where evacuation flights were still underway. That’s where the US Army’s C-RAM system came into play.
The Guardian C-RAM (Counter Rocket and Mortar) cannons deployed by the US Army at the airport are one of the most advanced technologies in the North American country in terms of air defense.
This autonomous trailer-based system combines a dome-shaped radar and infrared sensor with a 20-millimeter Vulcan Gatling cannon capable of spitting 4,500 rounds of high explosive per minute, producing a sound much like a circular saw. Projectiles that do not hit a target are designed to detonate in midair to mitigate potential collateral damage.
The C-RAMs at Kabul airport were able to shoot down all the ISIS-K artillery rockets with their thousands of 20-millimeter rounds . The rocket fragments and cannon shells reportedly landed on the municipality of Aria, which is directly adjacent to the southwestern corner of the airport.
Subsequently, ISIS-K posted a message on the social networks in which responsibility attributed the attack , which caused no casualties according to the US military.
According to Forbes, the projectiles “were probably widely spread Type 63-2 rockets or a regionally made clone, with a 2.9-pound TNT warhead and a maximum range of 5 miles .” “Most likely, a horizontal rocket rack was mounted on a flatbed truck, hidden under cover prior to launch, which was likely remotely activated after the driver disembarked. These rockets are not very accurate, but they are large enough to cause significant damage if one lands near a building, vehicle or personnel ”, they add.
Where does this system come from
The C-RAM is a land variant of Phalanx Close In-Weapon Systems mounted on US Navy warships , intended to serve as a last defense against incoming anti-ship missiles and as such designed to strike from Autonomous threats that can be detected with just seconds to respond before impact.
Since 2005, the Army has used it extensively to counter rocket and mortar systems , which insurgents and militias can easily obtain and use widely to periodically bombard US military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.