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India test-fires ‘Spyder’ surface-to-air missile from Odisha test range

On May 11, 2017, India test fired ‘Spyder’ surface-to-air-missile at a test range in Odisha. This trial was conducted for validating several parameters of the sophisticated weapon system in order to strengthen India’s air defence system.

About ‘Spyder’:

It has been acquired from Israel. It was originally a short range air-to-air defence system, but was later modified to be used as surface-to-air defence system.

  • Spyder defence system comprises two missiles – Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby with active on board radar that makes it even more deadly. Both of these missiles are smokeless, thus they cannot be visually detected nor can their launch positions be traced.
  • It can strike enemy targets within a range of 15 km and at heights between 20-and-9,000 metres
  • It has a shorter strike range as compared to India’s indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile, which can neutralise enemy targets up to 25 km range.
  • Indian Air Force had made the Spyder deal with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) in year 2008.

Test of ‘Spyder’:

Testing of Spyder was carried out from a mobile launcher at launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.

  • The missile was fired thrice at ‘Banshee’, a UK-made pilot-less target aircraft. The test was successful as missiles hit the target with precision.
  • Banshee has been developed by UK-based engineering company Meggitt PLC. Mumbai-based Sure Safety Solutions (SSS) and Meggitt PLC have jointly set up a unit at Gopalpur in Ganjam district of Odisha for assembling unmanned aerial targets.

Deployment of ‘Spyder’ and ‘Akash’ Missile:

  • ‘Spyder’ and ‘Akash’, both the missiles are in the process of deployment along the border.
  • The Indian Air Force (AIF) is planning to use air defence missile system on the western borders of India, to neutralise any aerial threat from Pakistan.

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