Czech Republic Procures SPYDER Air Defense System From Israel

According to a statement released by the Czech Republic’s Defense Ministry on 27 September, the Czech Army signed an agreement to purchase four new SPYDER ground air defense missile systems manufactured by the Israeli state company Rafael.

The Czech Ministry of Defense originally declared in November 2020 that it has opted to modernize its armed forces by obtaining Rafael Advanced Systems’ SPYDER air defense systems from Israel. After several years of international bidding, the start of procurement discussions for the four “SPYDER” batteries was approved, and Israel was chosen as the project’s sole supplier under a government to government (GTG) agreement between the two countries.

Mr. Ariel Karo, EVP marketing and business development at Rafael said:

“We are very proud to have been selected to provide SPYDER systems to the Czech Republic through a GTG process. The decision to select  SPYDER, developed and produced by Rafael, is a significant vote of confidence in our proven air defense capabilities demonstrated over the years through a variety of solutions that span from Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the SPYDER air defense system, in service and combat-proven in different countries around the world.”

Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar, made a statement regarding the purchase agreement to replace the antiquated Soviet-designed 2K12 Kub surface-to-air systems with Rafael’s SPYDER short-range air defense system, which was announced less than a year after the negotiations began. He said in the statement:

Military parade in Prague, Czech Republic as the 90th anniversary of independence of the Czechoslovakia. 2K12 KUB (rockets) / Image Author: Petr Brož orChmee2

“I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military towards 21st century capabilities,” Czech defense minister Metnar said in a statement. “Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on the Soviet Kub systems from the 1970s which do not meet the current requirements for airspace protection.”

The Czech government has announced that the four batteries will cost 13.69 billion Czech crowns (about $627 million). Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisition Lubor Koudelka, stated that during the discussions, the first tentative Israeli offer was reduced by 2 billion crowns [$91,588,510.00 US dollars].

Lubomír Metnar giving the keynote speech at NATO Days 2021 / From Lubomír Metnar’s official Twitter account

The Czech defense industry will be involved directly in the supply and service of the systems. The Ministry demands a minimum of 30% domestic industry participation in the contract. This ratio will provide Czech companies with new prospects for growth as well as the infrastructure needed to manage the systems while they are in use. The Czech businesses RETIA and the Czech state enterprise Military Technical Institute are expected to be Rafael’s major partners in the contract.

The four launchers are expected to be delivered by 2026, according to the ministry. The acquired systems are expected to serve the Czech Armed Forces for at least 20 years. According to the announcement, the predicted expenditures for the systems’ whole lifetime are estimated to be around 23 billion crowns ($1 billion).

According to the information given by Rafael, SPYDER (Surface-to-Air Python Derby) is a fast-response, surface-to-air missile system designed to counter attacks from a variety of air threats, including aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. In addition to providing effective asset security, the system also provides airspace protection for maneuvering forces on battlefields. A radar system built by ELTA, a division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), is part of the SPYDER system.

From the official website of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) / Mobile 3D Radar

The PYTHON-5 dual waveband IIR missile, the I-DERBY active radar BVR, and the I-DERBY ER long-range missile are among the most advanced air-to-air missiles with proven performance in the SPYDER systems. Air-to-air strikes are also possible with these missiles. Georgia, India, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Azerbaijan are among the SPYDER System’s current users.