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A missile firing unit (MFU) of the SPYDER-SR system
Type Short and medium range air defence system
Place of origin Israel
Service history
Used by See Operators
Wars Russo-Georgian War (unconfirmed)
Production history
Designer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Israel Aerospace Industries
Manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Produced 2005–Present
Variants SPYDER-SR
Specifications (SPYDER-SR)
Weight 105 kg (231 lb) (Python-5)
118 kg (260 lb) (Derby)
Length 3.1 m (10 ftin) (Python-5)
3.62 m (11 ft 11 in) (Derby)
Diameter 160 mm (6.3 in) (both)
Warhead 11 kg (24 lb) (Python-5)
23 kg (51 lb) (Derby)
Active laser and electromagnetic proximity fuse with back-up impact fuse

×4 Python-5 or Derby missiles in any combination per MFU
Wingspan 640 mm (2 ft 1 in) (both)
1–15 km (0.62–9.32 mi)
Flight altitude 20–9,000 m (66–29,528 ft)
Speed Mach 4
Infrared homing and electro-optical imaging (Python-5)
Active radar homing (Derby)
Tatra truck
Mercedes-Benz Actros truck
MAN TGS truck

The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an Israeli short and medium range mobile air defence system developed by the companies, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with assistance from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The system can fitted atop a Tatra truck, a Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, or a MAN TGS truck. It implements the Python-5 and Derby air-to-air missiles of the same company and shares full commonality with them. Rafael is the prime contractor and IAI is the major subcontractor for the SPYDER program.

SPYDER is a low-level quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas. The two variants of the SPYDER are the SPYDER-SR and the SPYDER-MR. Both systems are quickly reaction, all weather, network-centric, multi-launcher, and self-propelled. The SPYDER launcher is designed to fire Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles. A typical battery consists one central command and control unit, six missile firing units, and a resupply vehicle.

Current operators of the SPYDER missiles system include India and Singapore. Peru's order for the SPYDER was pending as of 2012. Unofficial reports claim that Georgia operated the SPYDER-SR during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War but has never been verified.


Command and control[edit]

EL/M-2106 ATAR[edit]

Main article: EL/M-2106

The Elta EL/M-2106 Advanced Tactical Acquisition Radar (ATAR) 3D Active electronically scanned array (AESA) surveillance radar is the Command and Control Unit (CCU) for the SPYDER-SR. This radar can track and engage multiple targets simultaneously and can control the missile firing units at a distance away from the CCU.[1] The E/LM-2106 ATAR is a fourth generation defence radar designed by Elta and operates in the L-band wavelength. It is a field proven design that has operated in undesirable environments. The range of detection for a fighter aircraft is 70–110 km. It can detect hovering helicopters at a range of 40 km and UAVs at 40–60 km.[2]

EL/M-2084 MMR[edit]

Main article: EL/M-2084

The radar sensor unit of the SPYDER-MR comprises the EL/M-2084 Multi Mission Radar (MMR) 3D AESA radar. The EL/M-2084 operates in the S-band. 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.[3]

Surface to air missiles[edit]

Further information: Python (missile)

Ranges of Interception[edit]

As a short range air defence system, the SPYDER-SR has a short range of interception. The altitude the missiles can reach is 9 km and the maximum range of interception is 15 km.[1] The SPYDER-MR has a greater operation range of 35 km and an altitude engagement of 16 km due to the missiles being equipped with boosters.[4][a]


The Python-5 is currently the most capable air-to-air missile (AAM) in Israel's inventory and one of the most advanced AAMs in the world. As a beyond-visual-range missile, 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 imaging infrared seeker (IIR or ImIR) which scans the target area for hostile aircraft, then locks-on for terminal chase.[6]

  • Length: 310 cm
  • Span: 64 cm
  • Diameter: 16 cm
  • Weight: 105 kg
  • Guidance: IR + electro-optical imaging
  • Warhead: 11 kg
  • Speed: Mach 4


The Derby is an active radar AAM that provides the SPYDER missile system with a fire-and-forget option due to its active radar guidance.[7]

  • Length: 362 cm
  • Span: 64 cm
  • Diameter: 16 cm
  • Weight: 118 kg
  • Guidance: Active Radar
  • Warhead: 23 kg
  • Speed: Mach 4

Operational use[edit]

During the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, it was believed that Georgia operated the SPYDER-SR.[8][9][10] 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.[10]



Unconfirmed reports claim that a battery of the SPYDER missile system was operated in 2008.[8] No official confirmation exists and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) arms transfer database cannot confirm this.[11] Jane's Missiles & Rockets magazine previously cited a Rafael representative claiming that one of the two export customers of the SPYDER missile system already has theirs deployed.[8]


In 2006, India planned to acquire 18 SPYDER-MR systems at a cost of $395.2 million (Rs. 1800 crore) for its air force.[12] The contract was reviewed by the Central Vigilance Commission, the government’s anti-corruption agency, before the agreement was signed in September 2008.[13][14] In August 2009, the multi-billion dollar contract for Israeli anti-aircraft missiles was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council headed by defence minister AK Antony.[12][15] Although previous estimates of the contract's value was 18 billion rupees ($395.2 million), recent reports indicate a lower value of $260 million.[11][12] The Jerusalem Post contradicts these figures and mentions a price of $1 billion for the purchase of the surface to air missiles.[16] The SPYDER systems were delivered starting in 2012.[11]


In March 2012, Peru chose the winners of a $140 million competition meant to upgrade its ageing air defence systems out of the group of 20 defence companies.[17] Amidst the presence of Russia's Rosoboronexport and Chinese firms, the winners were Poland's Bumar Group, Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, and the USA's Northrop Grumman.[18] Rafael industries is expected to supply six SPYDER-SR systems in this deal.[19]


In 2008, the Ministry of Defence ordered two SPYDER-SR batteries along with 75 Python-5 SAMs and 75 Derby SAMs. They were all delivered during 2011 and 2012.[11]

Confirmed Operators[edit]

  • Indian Air Force – Six SPYDER-MRs along with 300 Python-5 surface to missiles (SAMs) and 300 Derby SAMs in 2013.[11]

See also[edit]

Air defense systems of a similar role and era



  1. ^ The offical brochure of the SPYDER missile system by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems contradicts the figures for the interception range for both the SPYDER-SR and SPYDER-MR. The brochure mentions that the interception range of the SPYDER-SR is 20 km instead of the 15 km and 50 km instead of 35 km for the interception range of the SPYDER-MR.[5]


  1. ^ a b "SPYDER-SR ADS". Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Medium Range 3D Tactical Air Defense Radar EL/M-2106 ATAR". Israel Aerospace Industries. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Multi–Mission Radar (MMR) Family - EL/M-2084". Israel Aerospace Industries. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "SPYDER-MR ADS". Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Spyder-SR / MR – Short and Medium Range Mobile Air Defense Systems". Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Python-5 – Full Sphere IR Air-to-Air or Surface-to-Air Missile". Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Derby – Active Radar BVR Air-to-Air or Surface-to-Air Missile". Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Aminov, Said (21 August 2008). "Analysis: Georgia's Air Defence in the August War". Defence Web. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Cohen, Ariel; Hamilton, Robert E. (June 2011). The Russian Military and the Georgia War: Lessons and Implications. Stractegic Studies Institute. p. 40. ISBN 1-58487-491-0. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Barabanov, M.S.; Lavrov, A.V.; Tseluiko, V.A. (2010). The Tanks of August. Moscow: Centre of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. pp. 20, 81. ISBN 978-5-9902320-1-3. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "SIPRI arms transfer database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "India Buys Israeli “SPYDER” Mobile Air Defense System". Defense Industry Daily. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Pandit, Rajat (18 August 2008). "IAF to add teeth with Israeli missile system". The Times Of India. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "IAF orders Israeli Spyder Missile". India Strategic. September 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Army acquires anti-aircraft missiles". The Times of India. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  16. ^ Katz, Yaakov (23 August 2009). "India to buy Rafael's Spyder missile systems in $1 billion deal". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Adamowski, Jaroslaw (19 March 2012). "Rafael, Bumar, Northrop Win $140M Peru Contract". Defense News. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Peru upgrades air defense with $140M plan". United Press International. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Peru’s Next-Generation Air Defenses". Defense Industry Daily. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  20. ^ Tat, Ong Hong (17 June 2011). "No escape from the SPYDER". MINDEF. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 

External links[edit]