The contract reportedly also includes a controversial arms sale to Taiwan.
Rabat – Morocco is reportedly set to receive 24 F-16 fighter aircraft from US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
The US Department of Defense granted a contract on August 14 for the manufacture of 90 F-16 aircraft.
The contract does not reveal the identity of the purchasers. However, after Morocco received US State Department approval to purchase 25 F-16 fighter jets last year, several outlets expect Morocco is set to receive the aircraft under the contract.
Taiwan is reportedly set to receive 66 F-16 fighter jets from the US manufacturer.
Morocco received US approval to purchase 25 F-16 fighter jets for $3.8 billion in March 2019. It also received approval to purchase upgrades to the 23 F-16 aircraft it already has, for $985.2 million.
The new F-16Vs, known as Vipers, will be manufactured at Lockheed Martin factories in Greenville, South Carolina, and Fort Worth, Texas.
The 2019 purchase approval is the second largest after the November 2018 Abrams tanks agreement, for an estimated $1.259 billion.
On March 3, the US State Department approved the sale of 25 armored vehicles to Morocco, following the North African country’s request, for $240 million.
The deal also includes 25 M2.50 caliber machine guns.
Most arms that Morocco purchased between 2014 and 2018 came from the US, which is the source of 62% of the country’s military supplies, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Morocco is widely known as the strongest US ally in North Africa and one of its most reliable partners in the fight against terrorism.
In a study on terrorism and security in North Africa, the Egmont Institute for International Relations asserted that Morocco “is by far the most advanced in dealing with returnees” compared to Egypt and Tunisia.
Having met with senior officials in Morocco in August 2019, the commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Stephen T. Townsend, said: “The US military and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces can improve our ability to work together and provide a safe, more prosperous future for the region.”