India on 11 May 2017 test fired a surface-to-air missile Spyder from a test range in Odisha as part of missile launch practice of a series of tests of the short-range quick reaction. Spyder was test fired from a mobile launcher at launch complex 3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur and targeted a pilot-less target aircraft. Spyder (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) is an acquired missile system from Israel which is a short-range, quick reaction surface-to-air missile.
It comprises two missiles- Python and Derby, with an active onboard radar which makes the Spyder system more lethal. Both the missiles are smokeless which makes it harder to detect them visually. It can neutralise enemy targets up to a distance of 15 km and at heights between 20 and 9000 metres. Besides aircraft and UAVs, it can also neutralise low-level cruise missiles. It is an all-weather missile which has an automatic process of engaging an aggressive aircraft or missile.
The missile is shorter than India’s indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile, which has a strike range of 25 km. Spyder deal was inked by the India Air Force with Rafael and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) in 2008. Though the supplies were supposed to start in three to four years, but the process got delayed due to the non-availability of Czech- made Tatra trucks, which got involved in a bribery allegation controversy.