Air Defense: Spyders Of The South China Sea


January 25, 2019: The Philippines has become the latest export customer for the Israeli Spyder (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) mobile air defense system. The Philippines ordered three Spyder systems for its new GBADS (Ground-Based Air Defense System). So far Spyder has been sold to six (India, Vietnam, Georgia, Peru and Singapore) export customers as well as the Israeli military.

Spyder has been around since 2005. Spyder was initially available as a truck mounted version where one or more trucks carried a launcher (with four missiles) and another truck carried the radar and fire control system. In 2016 the Israeli manufacturer of Spyder revealed an even more mobile version that uses tracked vehicles instead of wheeled ones. Each tracked vehicle carries four missiles plus the radar and fire control system. The Philippines ordered the truck-mounted systems and it is unclear how many launcher vehicles they ordered to work with each radar and control vehicle.

Spyder launchers can carry either the Python 5 heat seeking missile (3.2 meters/ten feet long, 105 kg/231 pounds, with a range of 15 kilometers) or the Derby radar guided missile (3.6 meter/11.2 feet long, 121.4 kg/267 pounds, with a range of 35 kilometers). The Derby is actually a larger Python, with more fuel and a radar-controlled guidance system. Python has an 11 kg (23 pound) warhead while the one on Derby is 23 kg (51 pound). The Israeli Spyder radar system has a maximum range of 110 kilometers. The missiles can hit targets as high as 16,000 meters (51,000 feet) and as low as 20 meters (63 feet). Spyder can be used with other radar systems as well as a variety of truck models.

Spyder is regularly upgraded as there are improvements in the Derby and Python missiles as well as associated radar and control systems.


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