The purchase of the Spyder self-propelled surface-to-air missile (SAM) system from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense System by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is underway, according to a statement by Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on January 24. Per Lorenzana’s statement, the Philippines Department of National Defense is currently processing the procurement, though the number of systems being acquired is not yet finalized.
The purchase by the Philippines is being made under the 15-year Revised AFP Modernization Program as part of its “Horizon Two” five-year (2018-2022) phase. The project had originally been expected to be undertaken during “Horizon One” (2013-2017), but was instead bumped back into the second acquisition phase.
The Rafael Spyder (Surface-to-air Python and Derby) air defense system was selected by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to meet its Ground Based Air Defense System (GBADS) requirement back in December. The mobile system integrates both the short-range Python V and the medium-range Derby missiles into a four-tube slant launcher fitted on an ADS-MR 6×6 vehicle and supported by the Elta EL/M 2016 ATAR 3D surveillance radar affixed to the mobile command and control unit.
The question is whether the PAF will be acquiring the short-range (Spyder-SR) or medium-range (Spyder-MR) variant – or both. The PAF has requirements for both a short-range and medium-range GBADS solution to equip its 960th GBAD unit. The answer will likely come down to funding, as the cost of one variant is expected to run about $130 million.