Prague To Buy Israeli SPYDER Missiles That Accidently Downed An Indian Mi-17 Chopper In Kashmir

The Czech Republic will buy Israeli-made SPYDER surface-to-air missile systems for 13.7 billion korunas ($630 million) to replace Soviet-era systems in its possession, Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said on Monday.

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“I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military toward 21st-century capabilities. Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on Soviet Kub systems from the 1970s, which do not meet current requirements,” Metnar said, as quoted by his ministry.

The ministry expects to use the new air defense system “for 20 years or more.”

File:SPYDER.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: SPYDER – Wikimedia Commons

The Czech-Israeli intergovernmental negotiations on the procurement of SPYDER systems started in November 2020.

The SPYDER system has been developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (RADS) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and is capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions.

SPYDER short-range air defense systems are designed to protect cities, nuclear power plants, airports, large industrial centers and other strategically important sites by detecting and destroying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and cruise missiles.

SPYDER Missile: Wikimedia Commons

Currently, the SPYDER system is in service with four countries which include Georgia, Singapore, Vietnam, and India, besides Israel.

India deployed the system in 2017 and saw its first combat action on 26th February 2019, when it shot down a Pakistani drone at the Indo-Pakistani border in Gujarat.

In an infamous accident that occurred on 27th February 2019, an Indian Air Force Mi-17 was shot down by a friendly SPYDER system in Budgam, Kashmir. The incident resulted in the killing of seven officials.

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Armed with the lethal versions Python-5 and Derby, the SPYDER missile firing system is accompanied by EL/M-2016 or EL/M-2084 radars, depending on the variant.

SPYDER comes in two variants – SPYDER-SR (short-range) and SPYDER-MR (medium-range). The latter is achieved by adding boosters to the missiles, increasing their range; and using the EL/M-2084 radar. A typical battery consists of one central command and control unit, six missile firing units, and a resupply vehicle.