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UAE selects Rafael’s Spyder for its air defence programme

By Arie Egozi

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has selected the Israeli developed Spyder air defence systems for its immediate air defence needs. The initial contract is valued at $460 million.

Israeli defense sources said that it will be government-to-government deal and the details will be finalized soon.

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 defense for fixed assets and for point and area defense for mobile forces in combat areas.

The Spyder uses two advanced air-air missiles developed by Rafael for air defence missions. In some configurations, the missiles have been equipped with boosters to enhance their range.

According to an official release of 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 defense to up to a 40 km radius.

Spyder-MR and Spyder-LR offer medium & long range target interception through vertical launch while pushing the defense 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 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.

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