Philippines Fields Rafael Spyder Air Defence

The Rafael Spyder
The Rafael Spyder

The Philippine Air Force has in the first week of November activated its first Spyder air defence surface to air missile systems.

These will be employed to enhance the coastal air defences of the country with particular emphasis on the western Philippine Sea approaches. It is expected to defend air bases and the BrahMos anti-ship missile batteries to be deployed in 2023.

The Rafael Spyder was selected by the Air Force in 2018 as part of its Horizon 2 ground based air-defence system modernization. The systems were acquired in a US$141 million contract which includes three batteries including mobile Tatra 815 8 X 8 truck transporter/launchers, mobile radar, and command and control stations.

In addition, Rafael was required to provide training for Philippine operators and technicians, as well as, maintenance and service support for the systems including building a maintenance facility. This training began in early 2021 at the Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

As earlier reported in AMR a Spyder air defence missile system simulator provided by Rafael was inaugurated at the base in May 2022.

The Spyder-ER is a medium-range air defence system using both the Python-5 (SR-Short Range) and Derby (MR – medium range) surface to air missiles which can use the same launcher. The Python has a range of 20 km while Derby can reach 50 km. The former employs infrared homing and electro-optic imaging with “lock-on-after launch” capability and Mach 4 air speed. Derby uses fire-and-forget active radar homing.

Air surveillance is provided by the ELTA EL/M-2084 Multi-mission Radar a 3D AESA S-Band system that can detect at 250 km. Acquisition is by the ELTA EL/M 2106 Advanced Tactical AESA L-Band Radar which can target aircraft at up to 110 km, helicopters at 40 km, and UAVs up to 60 km distant.

The Spyder is all-weather and multi-target capable with advanced ECCM and battery control can be conducted over wireless networking. A battery can be positioned ready to fire in under five minutes.

The 960th Air and Missile Defence Group is understood to be manning the Spyder batteries. The third of which is due to be delivered in 2023. The Philippines joins Singapore and Vietnam fielding the Spyder in the Indo-Pacific region.

by Stephen W. Miller