The Israeli Spyder air defence system has emerged as the “favourites” for the Indian Army’s air defence requirements, the Economic Timesreported, citing sources.
The Army’s Rs. 18,000 crore worth short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) programme, which started in 2011, is on the verge of being completed. Apart from Rafale Advanced Systems (Israel), other competitors like Rosoboronexport (Russia) and SAAB (Sweden) have faced compliance issues after being unable to perform during the technical trails that the Army conducted in 2015, the report noted.
The next step for the Army is to go forward with the programme by opening the price bid. This programme has already seen several delays, with the Army going in for the indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missiles.
However, the Akash missiles are reportedly tasked for stationary or defencive units. They have a very limited mobility and its reaction time is comparatively larger.
The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an Israeli short and medium range mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries(IAI). Rafael is the prime contractor and IAI is the major subcontractor for the SPYDER program. This system achieved a notable milestone in 2005 when missiles were fired against test targets in Shdema, Israel and scored direct hits. Since then, it has been showcased in multiple military exhibitions throughout the world.
The SPYDER air defence systems are currently operated by Georgia, India, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. During the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, it was believed that Georgia operated the SPYDER-SR. The Georgian air force could have operated up to four launchers of the SPYDER-SR and it is likely that the system was lost in the conflict.