Rabat – Joseph Dempsey, a research associate at the International Institute for Stategic studies (IISS), shared on his Twitter account the pre-delivery of 48 Abrams tanks which will be delivered to Morocco from the US.
The Abrams tank represents the third-generation of main battle tanks used by the United States military.
“Nothing to see here… just 48 pre-delivery Morocco M1A1SA Abrams tanks cruising down Main Street, La Grange, Kentucky US,” wrote Dempsey.
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) April 7, 2018
In another tweet, Dempsey said that “another batch of M1A1 SA Abrams for Morocco Army has been dispatched from Joint Systems, Manufacturing Center, Lima, OH.”
Earlier this week, United States government documents indicated that the Pentagon had approved the delivery of USD 115 million in military equipment as of September 2017. The military equipment transfers were authorized under the Excess Defense Articles program (EDA), which allows US foreign allies to benefit from surplus defense equipment, at reduced or no cost.
In addition to 162 Abrams, Morocco also received tracked command post vehicles, grenade launchers, howitzers, as well as 419 armored personnel carriers, as reported by the Arab-American media site Al-Monitor.
A recent report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute identifies Morocco as the second largest arms importer in Africa, representing 12 percent of the continent’s total military imports during the 2013-17 period.
Morocco’s main arms suppliers are the US with 52 percent share of kingdom’s imports, followed by France with 44 percent and Italy with 1.4 percent.
Since 2012, deliveries to Morocco have reached EUR 655 million against EUR 212 million for neighboring Algeria. The two countries, along with Egypt, are the main purchasers of French armaments on the continent. The report also notes that Morocco was the 10th largest purchaser of French armaments in the world from 2007 to 2016.