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Israeli weapons testing misreported as PH missile launch

Israeli defense technology firm RAFAEL announced on Jan. 10 it had successfully completed the testing of the newest All in One configuration for its SPYDER (Surface-to-Air Python and Derby) air defense missile system. 


A post published on May 17 by Facebook page Emerging Philippines, however, falsely reported that the SPYDER missiles owned by the Philippines were launched recently in the country, misusing a photo of RAFAEL’s testing to support the spurious claim. The caption reads:

AIR DEFENSE MISSILE OF THE PHILIPPINES - The launching of missiles of the Spyder Air Defense Missile System of the Philippine Air Force.

A reverse image search revealed that the photo was originally published on RAFAEL’s official website on Jan. 10 announcing the successful testing, which the Israeli company said involved intercepting an unmanned aerial vehicle in a “challenging operational scenario.” 


Janes, a global open source for defense intelligence, said the testing was carried out last December.


The last known usage of the SPYDER Philippines air defense system was at the Armed Forces’ Joint Exercises Dagat-Langit-Lupa (AJEX DAGIT-PA) last Nov. 11, as seen on an official Facebook post of the Philippine Air Force.


The PAF accepted on Nov. 8, 2022 the first two batteries of the system as part of its ground-based air defense system (GBADS). A third one was expected to have been delivered last May 24. 


The Philippine government acquired the Spyder ER, a medium-range air defense system that uses the Python-5 (SR-Short Range) and Derby (MR – medium range) surface-to-air missiles, according to a November 2022 report of Asian Military Review, a defense magazine circulated in the Asia-Pacific region.


It differs from the SPYDER family’s newest member, the All in One or AIO. 


The SPYDER family consists of SPYDER SR (short-range), SPYDER MR (medium-range), SPYDER LR (long-range), SPYDER ER and SPYDER AIO.


RAFAEL said the AIO integrates “all of the main functions of multiple, fully-fledged systems into a single 8×8 vehicle.”


The PAF's SPYDER system was procured under Horizon 2 or the second phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Act or Republic Act No. 10349 implemented from 2018 to 2022 through a P300 billion budget approved by former President Rodrigo Duterte. 


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved Horizon 3, the third phase of the decades-long program last Jan. 30, which will focus on the archipelagic defense concept.


Emerging Philippines’s post has since received over 9,100 reactions, 1,300 comments and 312 shares. The page, classified under “City Infrastructure,” has garnered over 312,000 likes and 423,000 followers since its creation on Feb.7, 2019. (MDC)


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