Sailors Talk To Phalanx CIWS As It Targets A 737 Like A Dog About To Bite The Mailman

In what has to be one of the funniest and also creepiest military videos in some time, a Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) is seen drawing a bead on a 737 passing over what appears to be a Harpers Ferry or Whidbey Island class amphibious dock landing ship. Sailors nearby laugh as they tell the sinister-looking Phalanx “No… No… NO!” as if it’s a dog about to do something it shouldn’t before it drops its barrel and forgets about the juicy target passing overhead.

Check out the viral video here:

The Mk 15 Phalanx is no stranger to personification. There have been endless jokes about its appearance and twitchy personality. From R2D2 to Frosty to an aroused Minion, Phalanx and its land-based cousin, Centurion, have brought some smiles.

As for any danger to the 737, which could have been a Navy P-8 Poseidon, although the markings don’t look that way, we just don’t know for sure. Regardless, there shouldn’t have been any real risk at all. The system has various modes, from fully manual, to semi-automatic where it needs approval to fire, to fully automatic mode. The latter of which allows it to engage targets as it sees fit in very specific combat situations.

Infamously, during Operation Desert Storm, a Phalanx operating in the fully automatic mode on the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate USS Jarrett ended up spraying the Iowa class battleship USS Missouri with armor-piercing 20mm rounds after the battleship fired a Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) chaff canister while under threat from a Silkworm anti-ship missile attack. Thankfully, nobody was injured in that ‘blue on blue’ friendly fire incident and certainly other ‘Phalanx gone wild’ incidents have occurred.

The Mk 15 has been progressively upgraded over its decades of service and, in most configurations, it now features a host of electro-optical cameras to help visually identify targets before firing on them and to use the Phalanx’s 20mm cannon manually against small boats and other lower-end threats.

Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely creepy watching that Vulcan cannon slewing sinisterly on a hapless 737 overhead.

Thank goodness its masters were there to verbally command CIWS to ‘let it go.’

Contact the author:

Tyler Rogoway Avatar

Tyler Rogoway


Tyler's passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.