The missile system was developed by the Israeli company Elbit Systems and will be the first of its kind in the Moroccan army’s arsenal.
The proposed deal has not been signed yet. Israel wants to make sure that the technology of these weapon systems will not be leaked in any way to another country.
Israeli sources said that the platform was originally developed as an air decoy and, through the years, became one of Israel’s most advanced air-launched weapon systems. According to foreign media reports, this weapon system has been used in many Israeli air strikes against targets in Lebanon and Syria. According to the company, this missile, also described as a loitering weapon system, can be launched from fighter aircraft, helicopters, ships, and also from the ground. The system has a 250 km range and carries a 30 kg warhead.
Elbit Systems was reluctant to comment on the issue.
Earlier this year, Morocco selected the Rafael Spyder air defence system for its short-range air defence needs.
The Spyder system is operated by 8 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, the first Arab country to do so, as well as the Czech Republic, the first NATO member to deploy the system.
The system is also in possession of the armed forces of Georgia, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The Spyder, made by Rafael, 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.
According to an official release from Rafael, there are four variants of the system.
The Spyder-SR and Spyder-ER 360° provide quick reaction, lock-on-before-launch (LOBL), and lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) capabilities, while extending the range of defence to up to a 40 km radius.
Spyder-MR and Spyder-LR offer medium and long-range target interception through vertical launch while pushing the defence envelope up to an 80 km radius.
Rafael says that all the variants enable a 360° launch within seconds of the target being declared hostile, and provide all-weather, multi-launch, and net-centric capabilities.
The official release points to the fact that the Spyder systems have advanced ECCM capabilities and use electro-optical observation payloads as well as wireless data link communication.
The UAE’s interest in the Israeli system began soon after the signing of the Abraham Accords.
The UAE needs an effective system that can protect it from armed UAVs and drones launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Last month, Morocco became one of the first customers for the Israeli advanced loitering weapon systems, the SpyX, made by Israeli company BlueBird.
The SpyX has a 50 km operational range, 1.5 hours mission time, autonomous electro-optical guided attack, optimal effect-on-target, and tight integration with Bluebird’s VTOL ISR UAV family.
According to the company, this groundbreaking technology represents a significant milestone in the evolution of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and brings a new era of precision and efficiency to the battlefield, and at an extremely affordable price.
SpyX, developed by BlueBird Aero Systems, is an expendable electric mini-UAV designed for loitering and strike missions, enabling tactical teams to organically detect, confirm, and hit targets at ranges up to 50 km. To increase its target detection capabilities, the SpyX is integrated with a revolutionary belly-mounted dual-sensor stabilized payload and advanced video tracker, enabling autonomous and accurate electro-optical guided attacks on the target. To enhance its effectiveness, the 2.5 kg warhead (such as combined Anti-Personnel, Anti-vehicles, or Anti-tank warheads) is loaded onto the SpyX Loitering Munition just before launch, as per the required effect-on-target.
“SpyX is a game-changer in the field of military UAV platforms,” says Ronen Nadir, CEO of BlueBird Aero Systems. “We are proud to introduce this advanced system that combines innovative technology with unmatched versatility and cost-effectiveness. SpyX not only enhances situational awareness and enables precision and effective strikes, but also revolutionizes tactical battlefield superiority through its tight integration with our VTOL ISR UASs. It is a testament to our commitment to providing our customers with cutting-edge solutions that meet their evolving needs of tactical military operations.”