Agadir – The US Agency for International Trade (ITA) reported that sales of military equipment to Morocco more than doubled in 2020, growing from $4.01 billion (MAD 36 billion) to $8.5 billion (MAD 76 billion).
The figures came in a report ITA issued in December providing an overview of the Moroccan aerospace industry, as well as highlighting the major US military sales to Morocco last year.
The source also pointed to the Royal Armed Forces’ (FAR) purchase of the PATRIOT Air Defense System, a medium-range surface-to-air missile defense system. Observers expect the acquisition to significantly improve the FAR’s missile defense capability.
The 2020 purchases of 25 new F-16 aircraft, 24 new Apache attack helicopters, as well as G550 reconnaissance aircraft, also factor into the figures. ITA also reported that several deals currently under discussion may push the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) portfolio over $10 billion (MAD 89 billion) in the following years.
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Morocco is the largest purchaser of American weapons in Africa. After the US, the primary sources for sales to Morocco’s military are France and Spain.
The most notable US military equipment already in use in Morocco includes F-16 fighters, C-130 transport aircraft, and CH-47D helicopters, according to the report, as well as modern frigates equipped with US-manufactured digital communications.
Besides military matters, the data also points to the growing Moroccan aerospace sector which before COVID-19 “presented diverse opportunities including supply inputs, finished aircraft, maintenance, and airport infrastructure, with over 140 aerospace companies represented in the country.”
Among the various deals between Morocco and the US was the $1 billion (MAD 9 billion) Moroccan arms deal concerning SeaGuardian Drones. The MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones specialize in surveillance operations, such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, border surveillance, and law enforcement.