India Buys Israeli “SPYDER” Mobile Air Defense System

The SPYDER system was first detailed as part of DID’s AMRAAM article, in the “international competitors” section. This truck-mounted system mixes any combination of short-medium-range Derby 4 and ultra-agile short-range 5th generation Python 5 air to air missiles, to create a versatile system adapted for use against a wider range of threats. Each SPYDER ADS-SR Mobile Firing Unit can slant-launch up to 4 missiles in either lock on after launch (LOAL) mode, or lock on before launch (LOBL). This short-range version offers 360 degree quick engagement capability and 60-target tracking via IAI’s Elta EL/M 2106 ATAR 3D surveillance radar and TOPLITE optical sensor, a kill range of over 15 km, and openly advertised effectiveness from 20 – 9,000 meters (65 – 30,000 feet). A new SPYDER ADS-MR 6×6 truck version was unveiled at Eurosatory 2006. It’s restricted to LOAL but offers 8 vertical-launch missiles in any mix, adds a dedicated radar vehicle with a more powerful radar, and puts boosters on all missiles, in order to improve advertised range to 50 km/ 30 miles, and performance to 16 km/ 52,000 feet.

A typical SPYDER squadron consists of 1 Mobile Command and Control Unit, plus 4 Mobile Firing Units with with their own built-in power supplies and missile sets of 4-8 missiles. SPYDER will reportedly replace India’s Russian-made OSA-AKM [
SA-8 Gecko] and ZRK-BD Strela-10M [SA-13 Gopher] SAM systems, and the purchase has decisively shelved the Indian DRDO’s failed Trishul project.
India is set to become the Spyder’s international launch customer, now that the MoD has confirmed the contract…

Dec 11/08: The Indian Ministry of Defence confirms that it has signed the Spyder contract – and canceled Trishul. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, in a written reply to Shri Tarini Kanta Roy in Rajya Sabha:
“Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with M/s Rafael, Israel to procure Spyder Low Level Quick Reaction Missile System (LLQRM) for the Indian Air Force.
The proposal for Trishul system was foreclosed due to its inability to meet certain critical operational requirements. However, it served as a technology demonstrator and the expertise acquired with the technologies developed during design and development phase of Trishul Missile System are being utilized for developing state-of-the-art Short Range Surface to Air Missile System.”
Costs were not disclosed, though some reports place the deal at $260 million; previous reports of R 18,000 crore would be about $362 million at current exchange rates. Nor was the future composition of India’s Spyder force; Spyder systems now come in the 8-pack, booster-enabled SPYDER ADS-MR, and the 4-pack SPYDER ADS-SR.
Indian MoD domain-b.
Oct 14/08: DNA India reports that a new order from the Union government downgraded both IAI and RAFAEL’s position as weapon suppliers to India, and may place the Spyder contract in jeopardy. The issue is not expected to sort itself out until after the 2009 Parliamentary elections. Read “
India Downgrades Vendor Status of IAI and RAFAEL.”

Sept 1/08: The Spyder contract was delayed for almost 2 years by political accusations, but those have apparently been put to rest now. Defense News reports that a $260 million contract has now been signed with Rafael. The Indian Air Force will receive 18 Spyder systems, with deliveries beginning in early 2011 and finishing by August 2012. Unusually, the contract will not include any mandatory industrial offsets.

October 2006: India Defence quoted Air Chief SP Tyagi as saying India is close to wrapping up a deal to purchase quick reaction surface-to-air missiles from Israel as a mobile air defense system. Under the deal, India proposed to buy 18 SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) missile systems and accompanying missiles in a deal worth more than Rs 1,800 crores (18 billion Indian rupees, or about $395.4 million at the time). RAFAEL would be the prime contractor, and Israel Aircraft Industries the major subcontractor.

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