Raytheon has successfully tested a new electric gun for the Phalanx close-in weapon system for the first time.
The new electric gun design is intended to replace Phalanx's pneumatic motor, compressor and storage tanks, reducing the system's weight by 180lb.
This upgrade to Phalanx allows soldiers and sailors to fire at varying rates, using less ammunition.
Live-firing was conducted to ensure the electric gun can operate despite the heavy vibrations that occur when Phalanx is fired.
This Raytheon-funded test is part of a series of 'tech refresh' projects for Phalanx, according to the company.
Raytheon Close-In Defense Solutions programme director Rick McDonnell said: "Phalanx is a weapon of last resort and the electric gun's larger magazine will allow the US and its allies to stay in the fight longer.”
Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm gun system that is said to automatically acquire, track and destroy anti-ship missiles and other close-in air and surface threats.
The land-based Phalanx weapon system forms a part of the US Army's counter-rocket, artillery and mortar systems that are used to detect and destroy incoming rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets.
Radar-guided gun systems also helps provide early warning of attacks, Raytheon stated.
The Block 1B version of the system adds control stations that allow operators to visually track and identify targets before engagement, according to the company.
More than 890 systems have been built and deployed in navies worldwide.