Rabat – The US Department of Defense has provided US aerospace and defense technology giant Northrop Grumman with a military fund to power up Morocco’s M1A2S tanks with eye-safe lasers.
On May 8, the defense and weapons procurement publication Defense World reported that Northrop Grumman “was awarded a [USD] 9,491,066 modification (P00001) to foreign military sales (Morocco) contract W56HZV-18-C-0065 for eye safe laser range finders for Morocco’s M1A2S tank,” as per a US Department of Defense announcement Monday.
Northrop Grumman will work on Morocco’s new shipment in Florida “with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2020.”
The statement quoted by the Defense World added that Morocco has purchased 220 Abrams tanks “refurbished for the Kingdom through the US Army’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.”
The tanks, M1A1 and M1A2, are colored with camouflage “specifically for Morocco.”
The Abrams tank represents the third-generation of main battle tanks used by the United States military.
On April 18, research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Joseph Dempsey shared on his Twitter pre-delivery videos of 48 Abrams tanks being delivered to Morocco from the US.
In the same month, the US Pentagon approved the delivery of USD 115 million in military equipment, as of September 2017.
A 2018 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.
The report shows the US is Morocco’s main military supplier, with a 52-percent share in Morocco’s imports. In November 2017, the US sent its third batch of American Abrams tanks to Morocco following delivering two shipments in July 2017 and September 2017.
France is Morocco’s second military supplier, with 44 percent, while Italy is third, with 1.4 percent, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2018 report.