The 'Star Wars' robot that thwarted ISIS-K missile attack on US planes: C-RAM blasted jihadists' rockets before they could hit Kabul airport targets

 This is the US's sophisticated 'Star Wars robot' tasked with shooting down missiles fired by jihadist terrorists at Kabul airport - where the last American planes are preparing to leave following Afghanistan's fall to the Taliban

Dubbed R2 D2 by troops - after the iconic Star Wars character - the C-RAM boasts a powerful machine gun which can fire up to 4,500 rounds per minute.

The Centurion Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar defense system uses radar to detect, evaluate and take out approaching missiles and can be controlled remotely. It can also rotate up to 300 degrees at 115 degrees per second.

It was put into action Monday to take down five rockets launched at Hamid Karzai International Airport by terror group ISIS-K - which was responsible for two suicide bombs at the airport last week which claimed 170 lives, including 13 US army personnel. 

The Pentagon said this morning that the C-RAM 'successfully' took out one of the five rockets launched at the airport Monday - as three others did not make it to the airfield, according to Army General Major Hank Taylor.   

The Centurion Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar defense system uses radar to detect, evaluate and take out approaching missiles and can be controlled remotely. It can also rotate up to 300 degrees at 115 degrees per second.

The Centurion Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar defense system uses radar to detect, evaluate and take out approaching missiles and can be controlled remotely. It can also rotate up to 300 degrees at 115 degrees per second.


The US later admitted that one of the rockets did manage to enter the airport - where thousands are gathering each day in a desperate attempt to flee the country since it was overtaken by the Taliban. Luckily it did not detonate. 

Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters: 'We assessed that five rockets were in the air and went.

'Three landed off the airfield ... were no effect.

'C-RAM was able to affect and thwart the attack. The one or the other rocket landed with no effect to the mission or any danger to our personnel.'

He later clarified that one rocket landed inside the airport perimeter  

'The force protection C-RAM did work, it did engage and had effect on the one, and then one did land in an area ... and it was not effective,' he said. 

The C-RAM was developed in 2004 to counter the battle the insurgency in Iraq and is based on the Navy's Phalanx CIWS system 

It has a far shorter range than the Iron Dome, the system Israel uses to shoot down rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza, and is less effective but makes itself known with a piercing drill sound.

The Pentagon said the C-RAM was successful in neutralising an attack from terrorists on Monday, who had fired rockets at the airport's airstrip from the back of a vehicle.  

Burned-out rocket launchers were later found in the back of a car that burst into flames after firing the missiles.

It was the latest act of violence as the US races to get its last troops out of Afghanistan before the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden. No casualties have been reported so far.

ISIS-K, a splinter group of the one that once ruled an Islamist 'caliphate' spanning Iraq and Syria, subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack. 

It comes less than a week after it carried out a suicide bombing at the airport that killed 170 people including 13 US Marines, with Biden ordering a drone strike that killed two suspected plotters in retaliation. 

The missile attack also comes just a day after an American Reaper drone blew up what was believed to be a group of ISIS-K suicide bombers planning to attack the airport, destroying two cars parked in a civilian apartment block.

The blast triggered a secondary explosion, which is thought to have killed 10 civilians who were all from the same family and were getting out of their car when the Hellfire missile struck.

Seven children, the youngest of whom was a two-year-old girl, died in the attack which also killed three adults, according to the New York Times. An interpreter who worked with US troops and an Afghan army officer due to get married tomorrow were among the adult casualties, Afghan media said. The Taliban condemned the strike.    

A statement from US Central Command acknowledged a number of 'substantial and powerful subsequent explosions' after the strike hit the intended vehicle, adding that the explosions suggested there had been 'a large amount of explosive inside, that may have caused additional casualties'.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says he is 'not in a position to dispute' reports of civilian casualties, adding that the military takes the claim seriously and they are investigating it. 'Nobody wants to see that happen,' he added. 

Having evacuated about 114,400 people - including foreign nationals and 'at risk' Afghans - in an operation that began a day before Kabul fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15, U.S. and allied forces are set to complete their own withdrawal by Tuesday to meet a deadline agreed with the Islamist militants.

The number of U.S. troops at the airport had fallen to below 4,000 over the weekend, with efforts to depart becoming more urgent after an Islamic State suicide bomb attack outside the gates on Thursday killed scores of Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. military personnel. 

At least five rockets were fired from the back of this car towards Kabul airport on Monday. Some fell short into the city, while others were intercepted by missile defences, American officials said

At least five rockets were fired from the back of this car towards Kabul airport on Monday. Some fell short into the city, while others were intercepted by missile defences, American officials said

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the rocket strike and no group has yet claimed responsibility - though it comes amid a wave of ISIS-K attacks on US troops trying to flee the country

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the rocket strike and no group has yet claimed responsibility - though it comes amid a wave of ISIS-K attacks on US troops trying to flee the country

Afghans gather around the burned-out remains of a car that was used to launch rockets towards Kabul airport this morning as US troops prepare to fully withdraw from the country


A Taliban soldiers stands guard next to a burned-out vehicle that was used to launch rockets at Hamid Karzai airport

A Taliban soldiers stands guard next to a burned-out vehicle that was used to launch rockets at Hamid Karzai airport


The launch vehicle burns
The launch vehicle burns

The car which was used to fire rockets at Hamid Karzai airport is seen on fire in the Laab-E Jaar neighborhood of Kabul

Afghan civilians gather around the wreckage of a car used to fire rockets at Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul on Monday

Afghan civilians gather around the wreckage of a car used to fire rockets at Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul on Monday

Monday's rocket strike is just the latest in a string of attacks on Kabul airport as the US enters the final phase of its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan


A destroyed vehicle is seen inside a house after a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, this afternoon

A destroyed vehicle is seen inside a house after a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, this afternoon 

The strike destroyed a vehicle carrying "multiple suicide bombers" from Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate on Sunday

The strike destroyed a vehicle carrying 'multiple suicide bombers' from Afghanistan's Islamic State affiliate on Sunday

A destroyed vehicle is seen inside a house after this afternoon's drone strike, which vapourised several suicide bombers, according to officials

A destroyed vehicle is seen inside a house after this afternoon's drone strike, which vapourised several suicide bombers, according to officials 

The 'Star Wars' robot that thwarted ISIS-K missile attack on US planes: C-RAM blasted jihadists' rockets before they could hit Kabul airport targets The 'Star Wars' robot that thwarted ISIS-K missile attack on US planes: C-RAM blasted jihadists' rockets before they could hit Kabul airport targets Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:44 Rating: 5

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