November 17, 2009


Indian Army chooses Spyder surface-to-air missile system

Armys long-pending case for new air defence weapons to protect its tanks and troops as well as vital areas and installations from aerial threats has finally got a boost, with the the defence ministry giving the green signal for the various projects.With the indigenous Akash and Trishul air defence projects not meeting its user-requirements, the Army for instance is now on course to procure three regiments of quick-reaction surface-to-air missile (QR-SAM) systems from Israel for around Rs 4,000 crore.

The Defence Acquisitions Council, chaired by defence minister A K Antony, discussed the entire matter on Monday. Though there was no official word, sources said the Israeli SpyDer QR-SAM systems had been selected for the project. IAF, incidentally, is already well on its way to induct 18 SpyDer systems, at a cost over Rs 1,800 crore, to plug gaps in its own air defence capabilities.The projects were in a limbo for quite some time now, with one of the main reasons being the naming of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael in the Rs 1,160-crore Barak-I deal kickbacks case by the CBI.The government, however, was reluctant to blacklist these Israeli armament firms because it held that it would prove counter-productive since there were several crucial defence projects underway with them.

India has signed a contract with Rafael, Israel for the supply of the SPYDER MR. Under this agreement Rafael would supply of 18 SPYDER systems to Indian airforce, with deliveries running through early 2011 to August 2012. SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile (LLQRM) system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions. The system provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

The SPYDER-MR system has 360° engagement capability and the missiles can be launched from the full-readiness state in less than five seconds post target confirmation and within 2 seconds of the target being declared hostile by the system. . LLQRM will be used as part of the india's attempt to upgrade its outdated anti-aircraft and missile defences, which still rely on antiquated Soviet era OSA-AKM [SA-8 Gecko] and ZRK-BD Strela-10M [SA-13 Gopher] SAM systems.The SPYDER-MR system is a Medium Range Air Defense Missile System (MRADMS) designed to engage and destroy a wide spectrum of threats, such as attack aircraft bombers, curise missiles, UAVs, UCAVs and stand-off weapons.The SPYDER-MR Air Defense System (ADS) ensures protection of high value assets as well as maneuvering combat forces. The system is an all-weather, network-centric, self-propelled, multi-launch, quick-reaction ADS.

SPYDER-MR ADS incorporates RAFAEL's most advanced missiles – the Derby, an active radar Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile and the Python 5, a sophisticated dual band Imaging Infra Red (IIR) missile. Both missiles are equipped with a booster. Engages and destroys a wide spectrum of hostile targets

The Fatures include

Maximum intercept range is over 35 km and an altitude of 16 km
Protects a large area
Quick response and High lethality
Flexible deployment and operation
Survivability, High reliability and Mobility
Simple and continuous operation
Interoperability with SPYDER-SR or other ADS


Sidharth K Menon
[Defence and Intelligence Analyst]