Israel's Rafael will conduct the first surface-to-air launches of its Python 5 and Derby air-to-air missiles in June with a new mobile point- and area-defence system.

Dubbed the Surface-to-Air Python and Derby Air Defence system, or Spyder, the design will carry two of each weapon in four missile canisters. Shown in an artist's impression integrated with a 6 x 6 truck, the Spyderlauncher is supported by a second vehicle carrying a mast- mounted search radar supplied by Elta Electronics. Both vehicles and their auxiliary equipment are designed for carriage by an Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft.

The Python 5 will be used for point-defence duties out to a range of around 20km (10nm), with the Derby used to engage longer-range threats to a distance of 40km, says Rafael. The effective range of the Derby has been enhanced through the integration of an extra booster motor drawn from Rafael's Barak surface-to-surface anti-ship missile.

The active-guided Derby will also be capable of receiving targeting data from other search radars before or after launch through the use of a datalink, says Dr Eitan Yudilevich, Rafael's vice-president of marketing.

Offering a near 360° capability, Spyder will provide maximum flexibility against low flying fixed-wing and rotary-winged targets, says Rafael.

The development system has been promoted to meet the Indian army's future air defence requirements (Flight International, 7-13 October 2003). However, New Delhi also plans to conduct further test firings of its indigenous 9km-range Trishul and 25km-capable Akash air defence missiles early this year.

Source: Flight International