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A Close-in-Weapons-System is a system for automatic defense against missiles. It is a commercial, fully autonomous system that will automatically engage threats to the ship it is mounted on at any time, including during jump shock blindness.

See Point Defense for other means to protect your ships against missiles.


CIWS is an entirely self-contained unit, mounting a turreted dual gauss cannon, an automated fire-control system, integrated active sensor and ECCM and its own tiny reactor. This enables it to automatically search for, detect, track and engage targets. It will open fire if a missile is about to hit the ship.

A CIWS is intended as a last-ditch defensive system. It allows the ship designer to add a self-contained anti-missile system without having to worry about dedicated sensors and fire controls, and the player doesn't have to be concerned with allocating weapons or fire controls. They are of little use for escorts though as they can only protect the ship that mounts them. CIWS are classed as non-military, as they have no offensive capability and you can mount them on commercial vessels.


Due to CIWS self-contained nature, they are lighter and cheaper than a dedicated gauss turret sensor/fire control in the same role, and require no setup or orders to defend the ship, and are thus well suited to be mounted on non-combat ships like tankers, colliers, supply ships, jump ships or constructors that do not warrant a full defensive armament. For combat ships usually a manual setup is preferable. As a layered point-defense setup requires missile detection sensors, turreted Gauss Cannons with their own Beam Fire Controls require less space, and can also protect other ships in the fleet.


A CIWS always fires on incoming missiles, even if the missiles are not detected by other sensors. The two scenarios where this is of importance is jump point assaults (with sensor blindness due to Jump shock) and extremely short-range missile combat (missiles being fired with less than 5s travel time).

Unlike other beam weapons, CIWSs function normally in full atmosphere (and can be mounted on PDCs).

CIWSs do not need external active sensor contact or external fire controls to fire.

The internal sensors on the CIWS don't detect enemy ships or missiles in any way except for ensuring that missiles are always seen and fired on 10,000 km before impact. In other words, you will never see anything on the map as being detected by CIWS.

Internal "sensors" from a CIWS are not detectable by any passive EM sensor, no matter how advanced, large or close.

A CIWS can never be made to fire at any target other than a missile salvo.


Gauss Cannon Rate of Fire is the CIWS rate of fire per 5 seconds. As it is a dual mount, the rate of fire for the system with therefore be double the racial rate Rate of Fire = 2 x Gauss Cannon Rate of Fire

Gauss Cannon Rate of Fire
Rate of Fire 1 2 3 4 5 6 8
RP cost 1,000 3,000 8,000 25,000 75,000 250,000 750,000

Beam Fire Control Distance Rating is maximum range in which the FC is capable of target tracking. The CIWS is a point-defense weapon with engagement range of 10,000 km against incoming missiles, thus higher precision technology allow smaller FC components. The Fire Control size is given by 4HS / (Beam Fire Control Range / 10,000)et

Beam Fire Control Range
Range (kkm) 10 16 24 32 40 48 60 75 100 125 150 175
RP cost 1,000 2,000 4,000 8,000 16,000 30,000 60,000 125,000 250,000 500,000 1,000,000 2,000,000

Fire Control Speed Rating is the maximum target speed that the a fire control can engage without a penalty to accuracy. The CIWS integral fire control system is assumed to be a 4x speed installation, thus Tracking Speed = 4 * Fire Control Speed Rating.

Fire Control Speed Rating
Rating (km/s) 1,250 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,250 8,000 10,000 12,500 15,000 20,000 25,000
RP cost 1,000 2,000 4,000 8,000 16,000 30,000 60,000 125,000 250,000 500,000 1,000,000 2,000,000

Active Sensor Strength is the strength of the output pulse for the resolution-zero integral active sensor, which is used by the Beam Fire Control to acquire and track potential targets at range of 30,000 km. This determines the hull space of the sensor component, the higher the Strength the smaller it is. Note this is not an active sensor that will detect anything else. It is purely a point blank range missile tracker.

Active Sensor Strength
Strength 10 12 16 21 28 36 48 60 80 100 135 180
RP cost 1,000 2,000 4,000 8,000 15,000 30,000 60,000 120,000 250,000 500,000 1,000,000 2,000,000

Turret Rotation gear is the speed of target that the CIWS can track using rotational gear equal to 10% of the turret mass. With higher gear size tech less space need to be devoted to machinery, reducing the turret size.

ECCM or Electronic Counter-countermeasure component can be added to the CIWS and will use 0.5HS. As this is a reduced-sized system, it will have half the capability of the regular system.


  • CIWS is the Aurora equivalent of the Phalanx or Goalkeeper systems used by modern-day naval vessels.