INQUIRER.net reported that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has started the training of its officers who will operate the soon-to-be delivered SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) ground-based air defense system (GBADS) from Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The first Missile System Officer Course started last March 1 at the PAF’s 960th Air and Missile Defense Group, Basa Air Base in Floridablanca town, Pampanga province. The training aims to provide PAF officers with “operational knowledge to produce capable missile system officers to lead in the performance of the air and missile defense system’s mission capabilities.” PAF is set to receive three batteries of SPYDER GBADS with delivery expected to begin this year. Rafael already delivered the initial deliverable as part of the project, including equipment for training, and support equipment, and spare parts
Back in December 2018, the Philippine Air Force has selected the Rafael SPYDER Air Defense System (ADS) for its ground-based air defense system requirement, beating out other competitors including offerings from Germany, South Korea, Russia, India, and other countries. The Philippine government is spending around P6 billion for three batteries, including radar, command and control unit, Python 5 and I-Derby missiles. Both the Python 5 and I-Derby missiles could be used for surface launch and air-to-air, which means it could be integrated to the PAF’s FA-50 light combat aircraft. Despite the selection in December 2018, a Notice of Award (NOA) was only provided to Rafael in June 2019, and a contract was only signed between Rafael and the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) by 3rd quarter 2019.
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. The Elta EL/M-2106 Advanced Tactical Acquisition Radar (ATAR) 3D Active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance radar is the Command and Control Unit (CCU) for the SPYDER. This system achieved a notable milestone in 2005 when missiles were fired against test targets in Shdema, Israel and scored direct hits. Outside of Israel, current operators of the SPYDER missiles system include Singapore, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Peru, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
The SPYDER is a quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas. The system is fitted atop a Tatra truck, a Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, a MAN TGS truck, Scania P-series truck, Dongfeng truck, or a TELAR. The SPYDER launcher is designed to fire Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles which share full commonality with the air-to-air missiles. There are two variants of the SPYDER: the SPYDER-SR (short range) and the SPYDER-MR (medium range). The maximum altitude of interception is 9 km and the maximum range of interception is 15 km. The SPYDER-MR has a greater operation range of 35 km and an altitude engagement of 16 km due to the missiles being equipped with boosters.