Saturday, September 26, 2009

Singapore Picks SPYDER Air Defense System

Singapore Airshow

Defense News


Singapore Picks SPYDER Air Defense System


SINGAPORE — Singapore will buy the SPYDER Short Range Mobile Air Defense System, pro­duced by Israel-based Rafael, to replace the Sin­gapore Air Force’s short-range air-defense missile system, a source here confirmed.

This is just one of several air-defense compe­titions in Southeast Asia, where such weapons are in growing demand.

The SPYDER will replace the Rapier Low Level Air Defense system, a clear-weather optical sys­tem consisting of a fire unit, optical tracker and generator.

“We are in final negotiations with Rafael for the system,” the source said.

Rafael did not respond to requests for comment. The announcement is expected immi­nently, said sources at the Singapore Airshow, held here Feb. 19-24.

Singapore issued the tender in December 2006, seeking a mobile air-defense system that could be integrated into its military network. The deadline was extended to April 2007 to maximize options for the competitors.

“It is not so much about the missile as it is about integration of new and expanded capa­bilities to address concern everybody has for asymmetrical threats,” a source said.

Sources at the show suggested that Rafael is offering Singapore the option of supplying the command-and-control and radar for the SPYDER. There was no offset requirement, but there is an expectation that there will be a technology transfer. And sources say there was “implied in­dustrial participation” and that “somewhere and somehow ST Engineering will have some piece of this.” Sources said Singapore does not need inde­pendent force protection for expeditionary mis­sions and that Singapore’s unique urban envi­ronment has to be taken into consideration, though it was not part of the requirement.

“One of the key advantages of the SPYDER sys­tem is we can detect air breathing targets, such as UAVs, glider bombs and aircraft, without any limitation. There is no system that can deal with these types of multiple threats,” said Joseph Horowitz, business director and marketing di­rector, Air & Missile Defense Systems, Rafael.

The SPYDER comes in short- and medium-range versions. The short­ range version fires both the Derby Radar BVR Surface-to-Air Missile for short and medium range and the Python-5 Full Sphere Infrared Surface-to-Air Missile for very short range.

The SPYDER appears to have de­feated two rivals.

U.K.-based MBDA Missile Sys­tems proposed the Vertical Launch MICA Short Range Air Defence System, a fire-and-forget modular all-weather system mounted on a 5-ton truck.

“We are proposing long-term technology transfer cooperation with the Singapore authorities,” said Carol Reed, MBDA’s head of marketing and external communi­cations.

“MBDA is looking forward to working with the Ministry of Defence and has been a long­standing partner. We supplied the Aster-15 [surface-to-air missile] for the new frigates [Formidable­-class]. Historically, we have been working with the Singapore Armed Forces since the 1980s with the Rapier and Mistral.” Raytheon and Norwegian-based Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace teamed to pitch the Surface ­Launched Advanced Air-to-Air Mis­sile system with a Kongsberg command-and-control unit.

“We have a very close teaming relationship going back 30 years,” said Kyrre Lohne, manager, mar­keting, Integrated Air Defence Sys­tems, Kongsberg.

Lohne and Stephen Ladd, Raytheon senior manager, Busi­ness Solutions – Alliances, said, “We are waiting to hear the an­nouncement.” “From a KDA/Raytheon perspective, the whole [Asia-Pacific] region is a rich air-defense oppor­tunity environment,” Ladd said. “The asymmetrical threat is a growing concern while the region also worries about the larger glob­al security threat and what that means to homeland security.”

Thales Pitches Air Defense

In Southeast Asia, air defense is seen as a growing priority.

Meanwhile, French systems company Thales has pitched its Starstreak multimission missile to two Asian countries looking to buy very short-range air-defense sys­tems, said Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the air-systems division.

Chinese and Polish suppliers are contenders in one of the Asian competitions.

“It is in the mid- to final stage,” de Juniac said at the Singapore Airshow. He declined to name the countries.

Simmering regional tension and rising defense spending in the Asian region are the backdrop for Thales’ efforts to secure its first sale of the multimission Starstreak. Thales also hopes to find Euro­pean buyers for the weapon, de Ju­niac said. The company has large­ly paid for development of the new version of the hypervelocity Star­streak from its own funds.

The multimission Starstreak is designed for use against both air­craft and armored vehicles.

The main sensor is based on optronics, rather than radar, to detect and track the target.
The vehicle-mounted weapon complies with requirements for de­ployed forces, de Juniac said. Ex­peditionary forces look for equip­ment that is easy to maintain and has a common logistics chain. The company hopes to win sales by of­fering a single system that protects against land and air threats with the same missile, while simplifying training and support needs.

Long-standing territorial jeal­ousies have fueled security con­cerns in the region, with neighbors and near neighbors jockeying for marine and land resources.

Singapore and Malaysia have contested ownership of the island of Batu Puteh, while Indonesia has claimed the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan. The Philippines dispute ownership of the Malaysian terri­tory Sabah.

In the region, Thailand is a prospect for a modern air-defense system but the political situation needs to stabilize before procure­ment decisions can be made, de Juniac said.

India is an important market for air-defense capabilities, marked by a strong demand for local in­dustrial participation and transfer of technology. The challenge there was the long gestation time for decisions.

Thales has offered the Crotale Mk 3 extended-range missile linked to the Shikra radar to countries in North Africa, Arabian Gulf and Greece. The weapon has not been pitched in Asia so far. The hyperve­locity Crotale missile has an ex­tended range out to 50 kilometers from a previous 10-12 kilometers.

Singapore and Malaysia have arms ties to France. The DCNS has sold two Scorpene diesel-electric patrol submarines to Kuala Lumpur, while Singapore bought six Formidable-class frigates from the French naval company. The Defense Science and Technology Agency is integrating the combat systems. One defense executive said the integration seemed to be at basic level. Pierre Tran contributed to this report from Singapore.