Morocco is set to bolster its armed forces through the purchase of an array of military equipment from the US.
Rabat – Morocco’s 2020 finance bill will account for an increase in the kingdom’s national defense budget.
The budget is set to increase by nearly 30% in 2020, from MAD 35.155 billion to MAD 45.438 billion.
Staff costs will rise from MAD 22.330 billion to MAD 33.167 billion due to an increase in recruits and military conscripts in the Royal Armed Forces (FAR). In addition, FAR staff will benefit from higher wages.
Equipment costs will rise from MAD 6.051 billion to MAD 7.125 billion.
Investment spending will increase from MAD 4.773 billion to MAD 5.146 billion.
Per article 40 of the 2020 finance bill, the minister delegate in charge of the Defense Administration will commit MAD 110 billion to an endowment expenditure account entitled the “Acquisition and Repair of Royal Armed Forces Equipment.”
This equipment includes 24 Apache helicopters, 12 light transport helicopters, 24 tactical lift helicopters, and an electronic warplane.
As Morocco prioritizes anti-aircraft defense, FAR will purchase at least one surface-to-air missile system (the American PAC-3) and a self-propelled howitzer (the American M109A6 Paladin).
FAR will also acquire an infantry fighting vehicle and 25 fighter aircraft (American 25 F-16 Fighting Falcons).
The acquisitions of military equipment comes as part of Morocco’s efforts to strengthen its military. Morocco aims to have a fully independent army, air force, and navy.
The increased defense budget will also serve to strengthen the Royal Navy’s patrol fleet with a new frigate.
Morocco will also invest in a top-of-the-line coastal surveillance system as securing the coasts has become a key priority of the kingdom.