The user has not been identified, but the Israeli-developed surface-to-air Spyder air defence system – based on two air-to-air missiles – has won the “combat proven” sticker.
With the fast proliferation of unmanned air systems (UAS) – some of them armed with warheads or missiles – armies need mobile, fast-deploying defence systems.
Israeli missile manufacturer Rafael increased the range of two of its air-to-air missiles, and these became the heart of a surface-to-air system that can shoot down many types of targets, including UAS.
The Spyder is actually a launcher for two of Rafael’s advanced air-to-air missiles – the infrared Python-5 and the Radar-based Derby.
The Spyder-SR (short-range) uses the two missiles in their basic configuration. This gives the system a maximum range of 35km (21 miles).
But Rafael wanted a greater range and put boosters on both missiles, which gives the system a maximum range of 50 km.
A Rafael source said on 26 January that the Spyder-SR has shot down aircraft. He refused to identify the user.
The need to defend forces from manned and unmanned platforms will – according to Rafael – increase the sale of the systems. These have so far been very modest. Efforts to establish joint ventures in some areas of the world also failed, but some exports were made, and at this point the forecast is for steadily growing demand.