Under the Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 2 phase, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has officially selected the Rafael SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) air defense system for its Ground-Based Air Defense System (GBADS) requirement under Horizon 2 (spanning 2018-22) of the armed forces’ modernisation plan. The selection was already passed to the Department of National Defense (DND) for negotiation and implementation of the procurement process vis-à-vis their counterparts with the International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) at Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
According to MaxDefense, as early as June 2013 or 5 ½ years ago, MaxDefense reported that the Rafael SPYDER ADS is already at the forefront of any GBADS acquisition plan of the Philippine Air Force. But several delays in the project implementation, including not being included in the finalized Horizon 1 phase, or even the approved 2nd List of Horizon 1 phase, that the GBADS acquisition project was forced to be move to the next Horizon 2 phase, for implementation between 2018 to 2022.
During a December 21 Change of Command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force, which resulted in Lt. Gen. Kintanar’s replacement by Lt. Gen. Rozanno Briguez, the outgoing commander disclosed that the PAF will acquire three ground-based air defense systems (GBADS) from Israel. It should be noted that the SPYDER air defense system was the only Israeli GBADS product offered to the PAF. Hence, while Kintanar did not mention any specific model, it is obvious that he was referring to Rafael’s system. the Rafael SPYDER systems will be operated by the PAF’s 960th Ground-Based Air Defense Group.
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.