Morocco requests US aid to maintain the country’s F-16 fleet; US approves the potential deal in hopes to“improve Morocco’s self-defense capability.”
Rabat – Morocco has requested the purchase of a $250.4 million support package from the United States for sustaining its F-16 aircraft fleet, which will consist of spares, training, and logistics support.
The US State Department stated on Thursday, June 27, 2019, that it will approve the potential Foreign Military Sale, with the US Congress being fully notified of the deal by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
“The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s self-defense capability,” the US department said. “The continuation of sustainment for their F-16 fleet will strengthen the cooperation with the United States and other regional allies.”
Morocco already operates a 45 aircraft F-16 fleet and the country’s call for an aid package could ensure its fleet’s operation in the future.
Morocco’s F-16s are deployed at Ben Guerir Air Base, situated north of Marrakech. Since entering service, they have been used to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, as well as Houthi targets in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition.
The potential deal’s principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense, and security company with worldwide interests.
In more detail, the Moroccan government has requested a continuation of sustainability support to its current F-16 fleet, which includes the following non-MDE components: F-16 support equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment.
On top of this, the package will include publications and technical documentation, munitions support equipment (for AMRAAM, CMBRE, JDAM, PAVEWAY), support and test equipment, and US government and contractor engineering and logistical support services.
In fact, this was not Morocco’s first request to the US concerning its F-16 fleet maintenance. The country had made an additional F-16 preservation request to the US in March 2019, seeking to upgrade its existing fleet.
The US State Department then approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircrafts and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.787 billion.