Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Active Air Defence Systems

Israel Aircraft Industries' SPYDER low-level quick-reaction surface-to-air missile Active Air Defence System is another alternative to combat pesky TAF planes and a much cheaper (operationally) and longer lasting option to the MiG-29s.

IAI claims the SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby ADS) is 'capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas', which is ideal for Sri Lanka.

The SPYDER-SR system has a 360° engagement capability and launch missiles in less than five seconds from target confirmation. The kill range is from less than 1km to more than 15km and at altitudes from a minimum of 20m to a maximum of 9,000m. The Medium-Range SPYDER-MR has a range of over 35km at altitudes from 20m to 16km.

Neighboring India has acquired several squadrons of SPYDERs since it was introduced into the market in 2006. The system is brand new and comes with a service-plan. Although the capital expenditure is initially high, the cost of maintenance is lesser than MiG29s or 2D Hundustani Radar that are passive air defence systems. Israeli weapons are accessible to Sri Lanka and are of higher quality; having been developed alongside NATO countries/technology.

Source www.israeli-weapons.com


පංකාදු ලංකා said...


Why should SL invest any significant amount of cash to fend off LTTE light air-craft? Isn't it like a sledge hammer to swat a fly? Aren't there other more cost affective ways to ground these "pesky TAF planes"?

Thanks in advance.

Defencewire said...

There are so many. But we seem to go after all the bad, expensive and complicated ones because these are sexy. This is one such alternative. If you absolutely MUST spend money, then go for something practical, something that does not involve an expensive, gas-guzzling jet taking off one hour after the Zlins have crossed our airspace, dropped morale-booster bombs and safely landed.

sldf said...

We need a multi-layer air defense system. Combination of interceptors, radars and manpads and AA guns is the best way to neutralize this menace.

Peter said...

Did Devananda give 'multi-layer' defence to Maheshwari?

Unknown said...

Mig-29SM is a multi role aircraft. Hence it is not acquired solely for air defence. It is more suited for precision air raids than the Mig-27 and Kfir. So acquiring the Mig-29 is killing two birds with one stone.

lamak said...

peter, frankly i dont give a crap.
Keep up the good work, and before soon, the army will be having no tamils to fight with haha

lamak said...

sldf, you must be joking right?
interceptors, radars, manpads and AA guns?? Keep up on that list, and we would soon be able to take on India, not just the LTTE. Ever considered for a moment that our defence budget is already a heavy strain on the country? And surely there are more pressing concerns for military spending, like properly arming the thousands of new army recruits, better coastal surveillance, welfare for the WIA etc. Sure it sounds cool to consider our forces having all those armaments, but we need to be more pragmatic.

oh and just for the record, I strongly belive the mig29s were highly unncessary too. We need something with a much quicker engagement time, like the system mentioned by DW. But then again, its hard to make a case using logic to these procurement officers in the face of so much commis money.

Moshe Dyan said...

DW, thanks for the update. But i do not think this is practical vis-a-vis planes.

SL has an area of approx 66,000 sq. kms.

If LTTE controlled areas are approx. 15,000 sq. kms, we are talking about 51,000 sq. kms.

The SPYDER mediaum range system has 35 kms with 360 degree capability. that means it can cover an area of 22/7*35*35= 3,850 sq. kms.

=51,000 sq. km / 3,850 sq. km = 13.2 or 14.

this means we need at least 14 of these systems to cover the whole island. since these are truck-based, they cannot be deployed fast for kilometres. if a TAF plane which may be travelling at 200+ km per hour in any direction (which can change) is caught in the radar, there is NO WAY a truck can beat that speed an position itself.

we can deploy them close to Vanni but, what if tigers take a sea route to galle, etc.??

alternatively we can deploy them around Vanni 70kms apart and along the coast 70 kms apart; this would require more than 20 systems!

That is why we need 14 systems and not 10. this is a massive cost and these cannot be used for any other purpose.

What if one part of the integrated system fails as the 26 march 2007 incident at KIA?

what if tigers manage to get hold of one?

obviously by deploying these in 14 locations increases the chances of at least one of them being destroyed than if they were kept in one location.

for israel and india these are VERY useful as both of these countries have enemies ALL AROUND them!!! but for SL, it is irrelevant.

however, if these can be modified to attack suspicious sea crafts 35 kms away, then this is may be the silver bullet we are after.

may be my assumptions are wrong????

Bhairav said...

[this means we need at least 14 of these systems to cover the whole island. since these are truck-based, they cannot be deployed fast for kilometres. if a TAF plane which may be travelling at 200+ km per hour in any direction (which can change) is caught in the radar, there is NO WAY a truck can beat that speed an position itself.]

Lol..Our cum analysts think that Lankan defence system of TAF is the only viable solution to beat the enemy plane just as US tells its allies that US missile defence system is the only way to protect its land and airspace from any incoming enemy missiles. Well..many knew that US missile defence system is a myth that they cannot defend the land from any incoming missile of multiple warheads or missile which does not have uniform direction; ie:skud missile.

Militarize the whole Lankan airspace is a not possible given the country's economic struggles to fund this war. It may requires billions of dollar. Again, the success rate will be less than 50% even if your fortune is at work.

out_sider said...

Purchasing such systems would be a waste of money. The limited range of the system means that they would have to be close enough to the front lines where they could be attacked by artillery or an infiltration unit. The attack capabilities of ltte aircraft simply does not justify this type of expense.

Guns&Roses said...

Off topic
from LNP one person said

"UNP says 9000 SL forces dead in 2 1/2 years.

DefenceWire is this true????

Unknown said...


Just a thought,

Do you think that big bro india will let us get anything like the SPYDER system? and the Israelis have more interests with india than small sri lanka. I do not mean to doubt Israeli weapons tec. they are cutting edge stuff.

but i bet you, that our big bro will object and even if they did give it their blessing..they would come to an understanding with IAI to possibly rig whatever system we get to benefit them strategically and intelligence wise.

it'll be great if we could get it(provided we have the money for it)without restrictions or conditions. but it could be come another diplomatic hot iron for the Indians to hammer at.

I strongly believe that any future weapons system we adopt must be done so after vigorous trials and with a sri lankan collaboration (ie: A Gov. body or Pvt. Co should act as local support staff; who should be well trained and competent to handle the entire system) plus it would be great if we could have local software eng. working with the weapons supplier to tailor make any FC system and C4I system which supports any new system we are going to buy.

This in the long term would give SL competent people in the Hi-tech arms field to start making system of our own.

Local R&D needs big boost.

Moshe Dyan said...


pending a proper answer from DW.....

complete bull. even if we had last month's muhamalai type situ.s for the past 2 1/2 years, every month, only less than half of that number is possible!!!

one who said that is suffering from cronic PDT (post defeat trauma).

Peter said...

May be time to send Hizbhulla back to Lebanon, or even give him the familiar car Mossad gives.

SL gov can not afford to cross Pillaiyan. His forces still have arms, and worst come to worst they can call on the LTTE for support.

Hizbulla only has a couple of Mullahs.

Unknown said...

Sri Lanka has possibly ruled out Isareli weapon systems thanks to the coperation with Iran.

CodeRed said...

I think acquiring these kinds of weapons in an extra overhead for the SL War budget.Cant we use any other tactic bring down these TAF mosquitoes? May be a LRRP mission to their secret aircarft hangers? This is what they did for our A'Pura air base.I think that kinda tactic would be more efficient and cost effective rather than a these kinds of Air defence system.

If we really really need to take down those mosquitoes from the air, The Mig 29 would be more effective. B cz we can use it for other air to ground missions as well.Unlike Air defence system.

Ruslan said...

Yeah agree with code red with that. once we shoot down the Zlins with these machines. these will become some "White Elephants". so it's better we invest that money on Multirole aircraft like MIG 29SM which we can use it for other purposes as well. like delivering weapons accurately on air to ground Missions.

Ruslan said...

we don't have the luxury of experimenting Weapons systems in our situation. if we get MIG 29SMs, we can eliminate LTTEs arms smuggling capabilities as well. take note that MIG29s with look down shoot down radars and then they can use their antiship missiles to get rid of them easily (Smuggling ships). guess it'll be cost effective than sending cpl of Navy ships and support ships.

Unknown said...

well i'm also with MD on this system. LTTE agents will know quite easily where these units are based and their planes will change their routes...
Also i think though they give a max range of certain Km's it all depends on the terrain too... The system should be able the "see" the intruder and then a launch a missile at it... at very low flight ceilings like what TAF is taking...getting a good hit won't be as easy as spec sheet says...

With my very limited knowledge in military affairs... I'm thinking better intel and more direct approach might be the best solution for Zlins. If our DPU troops can trace these bastards hiding spots and then launch either a typical DPU sorta strike or call in the bigger guns...
Or we need a rat within ltte who can give us some good intel on these planes

Unknown said...

i aint no expert so forgive me if i'm wrong here...
But the biggest problem with arms smuggling ships is spotting them or having intel on em and not necessarily taking them out...
i think our existing jets can be upgraded to carry air-to-surface missiles if needed to take out a ship.. Or they can even dive bomb them with existing munitions...

Moshe Dyan said...

Yes; the biggest problem with weapons "ships" is detection. once detected even a Kfir can destroy them and many times we have done so.

Now tigers are bringing weapons in smaller quantities in smaller boats. we need a method to counter these. MiG29 is not the solution. may be Hinds; low cost planes.

But planes are more effective, fast and safe as you said.

TheTruth said...

why are we even discussing this system lol...SL has essentially ruled out anymore good quality israeli weapons because of the closer relations with Iran....

koombiya said...

To defeat the tiger Zlins what SLAF needs are some aricrafts of the same type, faster, propeller driven with high calliber machine guns or even air-to-air missiles. Propeller type air crafts can be quickly deployed and are easy for mainanace compared with Migs.
They can be allocated in air bases closer to the front lines. new air strips can be constructed by just clearing the ground as these dont need concrete airstrips.

chamal said...


Whether it's a spitfire or an F-15, it has to be in the right place at the right time. It's no use using whatever type of aircraft if it's not there to use its capabilities when needed. (which is exactly what is happening in SL. we already have more than enough to shoot down those planes, but the thing is we don't use them properly)

Unknown said...

i don't think prop planes are worth the effort for many reasons...
for one...though the present threat is the Zlins they can easily upgrade themselves into a better air craft in the future if we don't find a way to break their back now itself. If we buy prop planes to tackle the present threat, if tigers upgrade all that money and effort will be down the drain..
And also like someone else said...just because we're matching their technology doesn't make you successful... we still need early warning to launch our planes and then those planes will have to have he ability to hunt down the ltte planes... Not an easy job even with hundreds of prop planes...
also we don't have that many pilots at hand...

I think Zlins will plan their missions very carefully since they know that even if one air craft were to be shot down they are loosing all their propaganda points.
I doubt they will ever fly into deep south again unless they do that by taking out our air defences in south... Will be nearly impossible to do that now :)
So all their future raids might be close to their lines of control with quick egress...
Hunting them down will be that much tougher for our boys...
My guess is that through proper ground tactics and good intel, we have to take out those planes before they even launch

mottapala said...

Offering 1/100th of the money spent on Mig 29 and an amnesty, free travel to any destination for accurate information on tiger planes will do the job.

mottapala said...

All these are effects of bad intelligence. Are we at least making an effort to correct it without fighting with each other?

We have numerous intteligence agencies. Utter crap. Watse of public money.

Defencewire said...

Biggest problem we have is HUMINT. I would rather we put half of the MIG29 budget or even the whole thing on improving that.

As for the MiG29s, We are very skeptical about its ability to launch precision airstrikes and annihilate LTTE though decapitation strikes. Precision is useless unless you have your target clearly acquired. We are also skeptical about using MiG29s to down Zlin 143s. Our guess is that Zlins will keep bombing us long after the purchase and commissioning of the Mig29s because of the tremendous imbalance/mismatch in technology. Usually you design SAMs for the specific aircrafts you want destroyed. The MiGs were not created to attack Zlins. Anyway, time will tell.

Ruslan said...

I'm talking about the MIG 29s Radar capability. its way beyond than what we have. in our fighter squadrons, we only got Radars only in latest acquired F7s. MIG 27s = No radar!, Kfris = No Radar!!. so, if we got these Machines, we having the capability of detecting these ships better than ever. can somebody pls come up with the range of the MIG29SMs Radar. then we can clear up things bit.

Ruslan said...

this has happened cpl of weeks ago. in this video. a Russian MIG29 shoots down a Georgian UAV(guess its some kinda Israeli UAV) so normally UAV dnt fly supersonic speeds right guys?

chk it out urselves. then you guys can understood how a MIG29s capabilities of shooting down slow moving aerial targets.


Ruslan said...

what im saying is guys, first we detect the LTTE ships using our OPVs. (Or whteva the Navys patroling boat) then cue the planes to that direction. (i dunno abt radar range of our OPVs, guess it's good range) so its safe, faster and effective rather than sending a gunboat to that location isnt it guys?

Ruslan said...


No offense machan. but to carry antiship missiles. u need to have some sorta on board radar to guide them to the target. we only got F7s which has that capability (which i doubt). and remind you, to upgrade Kfirs, there's no point in it, because their so old. thats why i guess the SLAF thinking about acquiring MIG29s. which comes in a Package.(Onboard Radar, weapons etc)..

serendib said...

"To defeat the tiger Zlins what SLAF needs are some aricrafts of the same type, faster, propeller driven with high calliber machine guns or even air-to-air missiles."

Sound bit funny!
Good script for a movie though.

sldf said...

If you looking LTTE's "TAF" attack pattern they try their best not to repeat a target rather spread and test our ADS Eg: First KAB, then PAB and then some other economic targets in Colombo, then AAB and recently weli Oya. This why SLAF press the need for a fast look down shoot down radar capability interceptors. It's a more effective solution than having more costly radar controlled missile net that covers all military and economic targets. AA guns and MANPADS alone will not do the work since LTTE aircraft are small, fly at night, low level and getting a good target at time is a challenging task. Given the right training to our pilots Mig-29SM is the best interceptor to keep in mind the future needs of SLAF. F7G's can act as a wingman for the Migs.

However, when it comes to ground targets and decapitation strikes I can not disagree with defencewire the need to develop our HUMINT.

Defencewire, 61 division ready for operations?

Peter said...

How many more nangis will need to be shipped to Arabia before the banana republic can afford these?

Unknown said...

Peter, leave those kind of words out of the debate or discussion. Thats a sin of the country to send a womenfolk overseas. The same applies to tamils and all communities who have left.

Mahindha has not come with a complete solution. Example is Singapore's Total_Defence policy.

He is weaking the military as all Sri Lankans leaders have thanks to their need to survive.

Moshe Dyan said...

agree with saman & sldf on handling TAF crap.

if jets cannot reach TAF planes in time how can propeller driven ones do so???

the best thing is to destroy them on ground. if they get airbourne, F-7s are capable enough to reach them anywhere if they gets airborne in time.

BTW israel has not severed military, political, economic links with SL. israel still remains a friend of SL.

SL gets ONLY iranian ECONOMIC aid. SL has no military co-operation with iran whatsoever.

before MR visited iran JF visited israel; before MA visited SL, RW-PM visited israel.

for the tenth time i say SL's military strategy is flawed.

1. we are not adequately targeting LTTE weakpoints (lower number of fighters/cadres being the weakest point).

2. we have been unable to have ANY REAL IMPACT on LTTE's capabilities.
2.1 their air capability is in tact.
2.2 although we destroyed their ORIGINAL fleet, they operate a lot of small boats for weapons transport.
2.3 their elite brigades are unharmed.
2.4 their 4 Ms (men, material, machines, methods) are still in tact.
2.5 we have no effective answer to APMs, landmines, human topedoes/"sea mines".
2.6 LTTE has changed the time for support services. now they take place at night to avoid the SLAF. they are still safe at night and will be for the foreseeable future.

in fact our strategy has AVOIDED the above somehow (not intentionally but actually).

may be most guys here would disagree with me.

no insult intended to anyone.

Unknown said...

agree with DW... HUMINT is the cheapest bang for the buck. no technology can ever replace it... It's a huge failure from our intel sides not being able to know much about TAF and it's locations etc...
LTTE seems to be guarding that secret very well...

No worries mate :) Btw...are you the same dude on AL :)
anyways... on to shipborne radar... I'm not too sure whether SLN possess over the horizon radar capabilities... the hitch with ships is that the curvature of the earth affects their radar range...
Other than that even though you get a radar blip on ya screen being able to verify the identity of the ship needs some form of visual ID as well since there's a lot of commercial traffic out there too...
it's a very complicated affair sadly...

and maybe another tactic would be to deprive tigers land based control areas that gives them more easier access to the sea routes and also their land routes to supply chains etc. I think SLA already selects certain targets based o these sorta things

Unknown said...

what do you all think about this tactic to tackle tiger air craft?

The moment these air craft appear on the radar, fly to sets of jets one homing on the possible target of the planes, the other set flying straight to suspected areas of landing the aircraft to intercept them when they come for the landing.

Also may be a UAV to detect more precisely where they will land in case the jets "still" can't intercept them.

ideally these jets should parked as near to the suspected areas of take off for the planes.

what you think?

Bhairav said...

[what you think? ]

You are gaining momentum to Hall of Fame now. MoronPalla was the latest inductee and you will be next.

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