The Indian Air Force is in the process of deploying Israeli SPYDER air defence missile system on the western borders that it shares with Pakistan in the coming weeks.
The air force aims to boost its readiness to strike down any aerial threat from Pakistan, India Today reported today.
The deployment will help in tackling any aircraft, cruise missile, surveillance plane or drone that tries to violate our airspace, a defense official said.
The induction process for the country’s air force was delayed more than three years due to lack of availability of Czech manufactured Tatra trucks on which the missiles were to be carried.
The SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is a low-level, quick reaction missile (LLQRM) to neutralise hostile targets up to 15 km away and at heights between 20 and 9,000 metres. The system provides fast reaction air defence protection against enemy aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Python-5 is currently the most capable air-to-air missile (AAM) in Israel's inventory, while the Derby is an active radar homing AAM that provides the SPYDER missile system with a fire and-forget option.
The IAF will use the SPYDER along with the made-in-India Akash surface-to-air missile which has a little longer effective range of 25 km as part of a layered approach to defend vital assets and locations in the country.
The SPYDER deal was completed by the IAF with Rafael and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) in 2008 and supplies were to begin in three to four years. "Due to the lack of heavy specialised trucks, changes had to be made in the contract with the vendors and a made-in-India truck has been used for carrying the SPYDER system, which has been tested extensively resulting in delays," the sources said.
Both the SPYDER and Akash are all-weather missiles and the process to seek and engage an aggressive aircraft or missile is automatic.