European countries talk with Rafael on air defence systems

By Arie Egozi

At least three European countries are talking with Israeli company Rafael about the possible purchase of the company's short range air defence systems – Iron Dome and Spyder.

The company refused to identify the countries but a source said that demonstrations are expected in mid-2023.

Last year the Czech ministry of defence signed a contract valued at 520 million USD for purchase the Rafael Spyder short range air defence system.

According to the contract the Czech Republic will be equipped with 4 Rafael’s Spyder batteries, which include MMR radars produced by IAI.

The agreement includes the involvement of Czech defence industries.

Spyder is an air defence system based on Rafael’s Python and Derby air-to-air missiles and is designed to intercept a variety of airborne threats including planes, helicopters and UAVs.

These will be integrated into the NATO country’s infrastructure and will defend Czech skies.

In 2019 , the Indian air force, shot down a Pakistani UAV using the Rafael Spyder air defence system.

The use of air-air missiles for a ground – air system is gaining more popularity and Rafael is negotiating with more potential customers.

The truck mounted Spyder uses a combination of two Rafael air- air missile – the Derby radar guided missile and the Python 5, IR missile.

According to reports, the Pakistani UAS was shot down by the radar guide Derby missile.

The 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 Spyder launcher is designed to fire Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles which share full commonality with the air-to-air missiles. There are two variants of the SPYDER: the SPYDER-SR (short range) and the Spyder-MR (medium range). Both systems are designed for quick reaction, and to operate in any weather condition.

The Spyder-SR uses the EL/M-2106 ATAR radar while the Spyder-MR incorporates the EL/M-2084 MMR radar. The latter is the same radar used by the Iron Dome system currently in service with the Israel Defence Forces.

The European countries are also interested in the Rafael Iron Dome air defence system. This system achieved 96 % of intercept in the recent clash between the Israeli defence forces (IDF) and the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.

Iron Dome detects, assesses and intercepts a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. It is effective day or night and in all weather conditions including low clouds, rain, dust storms and fog. It features a first-of-its-kind multi-mission launcher designed to fire a variety of interceptor missiles.

Iron Dome’s Tamir missile intercepts incoming threats launched from ranges of 4-80 km. Tamir missiles feature electro-optical sensors and steering fins with proximity fuze blast warheads.

the Iron Dome systems are deployed mainly along the border with Lebanon and with Gaza.

Last year the U.S army purchased two Iron Dome systems.

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