A US Navy anti-aircraft system was observed taking aim at a passenger plane flying overhead, while sailors reprimanded the gun to stand down.
The military MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System meticulously tracked a commercial plane using its formidable six-barrel 20mm cannon, leaving crew members yelling at it like a toddler about to run into traffic.
The passenger plane, which was likely a Boeing 737, was followed for a brief moment before the weapon system thankfully powered down and lowered its armament.
This alarming incident was captured in a video shared on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, in May, and has gone viral with nearly 3 million views.
What kind of weapon is the MK 15 Phalanx
The MK 15 Phalanx is an exceptionally powerful weapon, specifically designed to automatically defend Navy ships with a firing rate of up to 4,500 rounds per minute.
As per the US Navy, the CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) is a responsive-to-action, detect-through-engage, radar-guided, 20-millimeter gun weapon system.
Its primary function is to serve as an inner layer of protection against anti-ship missiles (ASM), aircraft, and small boats that manage to evade other fleet defenses.
The weapon system offers various operational modes, ranging from fully manual to semi-automated (requiring approval to fire) and fully automated.
In the latter mode, the CIWS can independently engage targets based on specific conditions, as it did with the plane.
The video showed the system’s Gatling gun aimed at the aircraft, while a giggling sailor can be heard saying, ‘No, no, no,’ as the system continues to track the plane.
Eventually, the Skynet-like gun decides the plane is not a threat and goes to sleep. The members of the armed forces in the video are giddily relieved as the threat of their own weapon passes.
One can be heard exclaiming, “Jesus!”
While another says “No, oh man,” and they both laugh about the nearly catastrophic possibility.
CEO creates tiny replica of the MK 15 Phalanx
Earlier this summer, a man built a scale model of an MK 15 Phalanx in his garage, and filmed the miniature weapon taking out a target.
In the footage, the tiny Phalanx is mounted on the back of a pickup truck and faces a target, possibly made of heavy paper material.
The video demonstrates that the airsoft Phalanx easily defeats the target, as the BB gun pellets effectively cut it into two pieces.
The mastermind behind the mini-Phalanx is Kogoro Kurata, the CEO of Suidobashi Heavy Industry, a robotics company based in Japan.
The company gained recognition over ten years ago when Kurata and roboticist Wataru Yoshizaki developed a 13-feet tall Kuratas robot prototype that can also shoot BB gun pellets.
In 2017, Kuratas famously participated in a Megabots robot fight and emerged as the victor. As of 2013, Kuratas robots could be custom ordered for a starting price of $1.35 million.