Federation Chairman Liam Kelly (pictured) was speaking after the PSNI Terror Investigation Unit carried out at least three searches in the Creggan area of the city on Thursday.
Mr Kelly said the recovery of plastic explosives, military grenades, two handguns, several pipe bombs and ammunition serves to underline the continuing threat that dissident republicans pose to police officers.
Sixteen officers were injured, Mr Kelly said - four of them requiring hospital treatment - during rioting which followed the searches.
“Our officers involved in these searches and disorder displayed great courage and resilience and deserve great credit and the thanks of this entire community,” he said.
“They recovered a lethal terrorist arsenal, the contents of which would have been used against colleagues going about their lawful duties. To be subjected to appalling attacks as searches continued is deplorable and must be condemned.
“Of all the items uncovered, it is the discovery of plastic explosives that is particularly the most worrying development.
“Our officers did a thoroughly professional job. They undertook these searches to protect the immediate community and wider society and should be congratulated by all political parties and community groups.
“I want to wish our injured officers well as they recover from their injuries. They did sterling work and showed great courage and resilience.
"As part of any review and health and safety investigation into the policing operation we will be seeking to assess the police planning and tactics and establish if their injuries could have been averted.”
Meanwhile on, today, Friday, the PSNI evacuated homes in Londonderry due to a security aler in the Stewarts Terrace area of Rosemount in the west of the city.
Cordons were put in place and the public was advised to avoid the area, if possible. Police said that Brooke Park Leisure Centre was being used as a rest centre for anyone whose home was evacuated.