Lately, the PAF has expressed desire to acquire SAM’s or surface-to-air missiles. The PAF intends to have its own GBAD (ground-based-air-defense) unit.

The Israeli SPYDER SR system is being offered by Rafael to the Philippines for our GBAD units.

The SPYDER SR is a short-range air defense system with a maximum range of around 15km and a maximum  flight altitude of about 9 km. What makes this system very nice is that its very mobile.

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The components of the SPYDER SR ADS system

A SPYDER SR battery consists of 6 Missile Firing Units, the Missile Supply Vehicle, the Service Vehicle, and the Command & Control Unit which also carries the radar.

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The radar for the SPYDER SR mounted on top of the Command & Control Unit.

The radar for the SPYDER SR is mounted on the same vehicle as the Command & Control Unit. It takes no time to set up making the SPYDER very mobile. This is pretty neat because other SAM systems would take time to set up its radar and illuminators (for previous generation SARH SAM’s like the MIM-23 HAWK). The Command Unit can control the six Missile Firing Units from up to 10km away enabling the Missile Firing units to spread out and maximize the radius of the area it can protect.

The radar of the SPYDER SR that is mounted on the Command & Control Unit is the EL/M- 2106 ATAR. The radar is a fourth generation air defense radar developed by ELTA. It operates in the L-band wavelength. It can detect targets with similar RCS to fighter aircraft, non-stealth 4 to 4.5 generation ones at ranges of around 70-110 km, targets with RCS similar to those of military helicopters in the league of the UH-60 and Mi-8 at 40km, and UAV’s at 40-60km. It is claimed to  be rugged and has operated successfully in undesirable environments. The radar can guide the SAM’s from up to 10km away from the Command & Control Unit. It also features commonality at some point with the other air defense radars the PAF is acquiring as they come from the same manufacturer, ELTA.

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The EL/M-2016 ATAR radar that the SPYDER SR system uses.

Another neat thing about the SPYDER is that it fires the Python 5 and Derby AAM’s.

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The Python 5 AAM

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The Derby AAM

The Python and Derby missiles that the SPYDER fires as SAM’s are actually AAM’s.

The PAF is also looking at the Python 5 and Derby to equip our FA-50PH fighters (to be discussed in the next blog). Having the same missiles for both our SAM’s and fighters would be very nice.

The Python 5 is one of the most advanced AAM’s in the world. It is equivalent to the American AIM-9X Sidewinder being sold for a lot cheaper. It has a range of more than 20km and is rumored to be able to chase its target even to beyond-visual-range. It has lock-on-after-launch capability (LOAL) and all-aspect/all-direction attack capability even rearwards. It features an advanced electro-optical infrared homing seeker that scans the area for the target then locks on for terminal homing. The missile is combat-proven, being used by Israeli F-16’s during the 2006 Lebanon War. The Python 5 is also hardened against countermeasures.

The Derby is a BVR version of the Python 5’s little brother, the Python 4, which is an equivalent to the AIM-9L and the Derby being an equivalent of the previous generations of AMRAAM’s though it pales in comparison to the new generation AMRAAM’s. It has a range of around 50km and features an active radar seeker.

On the ground, the Python 5 and Derby combination of the SPYDER SR features a range of around 15 km and the maximum flight altitude for the missiles is 9 km, which places it in the “short-range” category.

While 15 km seems short, it serves the SPYDER’s purpose of defending a specific area such as a PAF airbase or the SBMS the PA is looking at buying. 15 km should satisfy the requirements of defending small areas like airbases or areas where SBMS would operate.

While being short-ranged in nature, the SPYDER is still no doubt a very nice air-defense-system to have, considering that we even have two neighbors, Vietnam and Singapore using it.

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A SPYDER SR system of the RSAF. (c) xtemujin

Overall, the SPYDER SR system would be very nice for the PAF to have on the points of it being able to bring commonality for both the SAM and AAM requirements and its high mobility. To sum it up, the SPYDER SR is a very good choice for the Philippines should we acquire it.