The acquisition is part of Morocco’s five-year plan to reach “regional supremacy” by modernizing its military equipment.
Rabat – Morocco has concluded a set of military agreements with French arms makers for a total cost of €400 million.
According to the French newspaper La Tribune, the first contract involves the purchase of CAESAR self-propelled howitzer, worth €170 million and its ammunition for an additional €30 million. Morocco will acquire the armament from the French state-owned weapons manufacturer Nexter.
The second contract concerns acquiring VL-Mica ground missiles from the world leader in missile systems, MBDA, for a cost of €200 million.
According to FAR-Maroc, a website specializing in military activities in Morocco, the official unveiling of the contracts will take place during the upcoming visit of the French president Emmanuel Macron. The visit is set to occur on February 12 at the request of King Mohammed VI.
La Tribune added that Naval Group, a French defense contractor and industrial group, will provide maintenance services for a number of Moroccan military ships. Naval Group will also provide three Sigma corvettes acquired from Dutch Schelde in 2011 and 2012 in addition to FREMM multipurpose frigate acquired in 2008, as well as other ships.
Meanwhile, Morocco has future plans to acquire submarines from TKMS and Naval Group
From 2008 to 2018, France sold €1.8 billion worth of military equipment to Morocco, including a FREMM frigate in 2008 (Naval Group) and two spy satellites in 2013 (Airbus and Thales).
Although France and Morocco share long-standing relations, the US is the kingdom’s primary arms supplier. France provides 44% of Morocco’s weapons while the US accounts for 53% of the kingdom’s arms deals.
In 2019, Morocco’s arms transactions with the US totaled $10.3 billion, surpassing Saudi Arabia.
In 2019, Morocco purchased 25 F-16 aircraft and associated equipment in March for a cost of $3.8 billion, in addition to upgrading the country’s existing fleet of F-16 fighter jets for a cost of $985 million.
The most recent deal occurred on November 20, when the US State Department approved the sale of 36 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment to Morocco for an estimated cost of $4.25 billion.
The acquisition is part of Morocco’s five-year plan, established in 2017, to reach “regional supremacy” by modernizing the equipment of its army, air force, and navy. Morocco has devoted $20 billion to reach the strategic objective.