IndraStra Global Editorial Team
Image Attribute: SPYDER Air Defense System / Source: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will be soon completing the installation and activation of most sought after air defense system with the Israeli-made SPYDER-MR (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby : Medium Range) system on India's western borders to counter any possible aerial threat from Pakistan in the form of military aircraft, cruise missile, or surveillance drone.
SPYDER-MR incorporates the EL/M-2084 Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) 3D AESA radar. It is the same radar used by the Iron Dome system currently in service with the Israel Defense Forces. It can process up to 1200 targets when in air surveillance mode and also detects targets located 250 km away. When the radar is static, it covers 120° in the azimuth.
The Python-5 is a beyond-visual-range (BVR) surface-to-air missile (SAM) and it is capable of "lock-on after launch" (LOAL), and has all-aspect/all-direction (including rearward) attack ability. The missile features an advanced electro-optical infrared homing (with imaging infrared) seeker which scans the target area for hostile aircraft, then locks-on for the terminal chase.
Whereas, the Derby is an active radar homing SAM that provides the SPYDER missile system with a fire-and-forget option due to its active radar guidance.
The SPYDER systems were delivered starting in 2012. Six SPYDER-MRs along with 300 Python-5 SAMs and 300 Derby SAMs were delivered by 2013. But, the induction process was delayed more than three years due to lack of availability of Czech manufactured Tatra trucks on which the missiles were to be mounted.
The IAF intends to use the SPYDER-MR along with the made-in-India Akash surface-to-air missile which has a little longer effective range of 25 km as part of a layered approach to defend vital assets and locations in the country.