Photo shows Israel weapons test, not 'Philippines launching missile'

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said in 2022 the archipelago had acquired a Spyder air defence system as part of a push to modernise the military. A photo circulating on Facebook, however, shows different equipment. Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said the photo showed a new missile tested in Israel in December 2023, while a Philippine Air Force spokeswoman told AFP the equipment in the photo shared online was "not ours".

"AIR DEFENSE MISSILE OF THE PHILIPPINES," read a Facebook post that shared the photo on May 17.

"The launching of missiles of the Spyder Air Defense Missile System of the Philippine Air Force."

Spyder is a ground-based air defence system developed by Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Screenshot of the false post taken on June 1, 2024

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos welcomed the Spyder defence system acquired by the Philippine Air Force in November 2022 (archived link).

Manila purchased the equipment in 2019 as part of efforts to modernise its military (archived here and here).

Similar Facebook posts claimed the photo showed the Spyder defence system in the Philippines here and here

The posts circulated after thousands of Philippine and US troops took part in annual military drills -- dubbed Balikatan or "shoulder to shoulder" in Tagalog -- in various locations across the Asian archipelago in April and May (archived link). 

The drills came as tensions surged between Chinese and Filipino vessels in the disputed South China Sea.

One of the events in the war games saw the "first ever gathering" of a US Patriot missile and the Philippines' Spyder system (archived link).

Israel missile test

However, Philippine Air Force spokeswoman Colonel Consuelo Castillo told AFP the equipment in the photo was "not ours".

A reverse image search on Google found the photo in fact shows a different missile being tested in Israel.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems published a video of the defence system seen in the picture in an article about testing of the new "All in One" Spyder defence system conducted in Israel in December 2023 (archived here and here). 

Israel's defence ministry also shared the photo on January 14, 2024 in a post on social media site X about the "successfully completed" test (archived link)

Below is a comparison of the photo shared in the false posts (left) and the Israeli defence ministry's X post (right):

Comparison of the photo shared in the false posts (left) and the Israeli defence ministry's X post (right)

The weapons company posted footage of the live fire test on YouTube (archived here).

Philippine fact-checking organisation FactRakers also debunked this claim. 

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