The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) ground-based air defence system that can respond faster and with greater precision to aircraft and munition threats has attained full operational capability status on July 4. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s surface-to-air Python-5 and Derby (Spyder) which was introduced in 2011, is the first advanced weapon system that has been integrated into the enhanced Island Air Defence system (IAD).
In 2008, the Ministry of Defence ordered two SPYDER-SR batteries along with 75 Python-5 SAMs and 75 Derby SAMs. They were all delivered during 2011 and 2012. Some SPYDER-SRs were operated by the 165 Squadron in 2011,it is also reported that more SPYDER-SRs are on order. Compared to its predecessor, the Rapier system, which has been in service with the RSAF for 30 years, the Spyder system possesses a longer interception range. The missiles are also capable of interception at higher altitudes. These enhanced capabilities provide Singapore with an extended air defence coverage. The Spyder system is equipped with advanced infra-red and radar guided missiles and can intercept aerial threats at more than twice the range and three times the altitude of the Rapier system. It is also more manpower efficient as it takes only four men and 15 minutes to deploy the Spyder compared to the one hour and 15 men needed to deploy the Rapier.
The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an Israeli short and medium range mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Rafael is the prime contractor and IAI is the major subcontractor for the SPYDER program. This system achieved a notable milestone in 2005 when missiles were fired against test targets in Shdema, Israel and scored direct hits. Since then, it has been showcased in multiple military exhibitions throughout the world. The SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.