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Morocco purchases 25 US aircraft in country's largest arms deal

March 27, 2019 at 2:11 am

Image of a F-16 fighter jet [Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Wikipedia]

Morocco has signed a new purchase deal of dozens of US-made F-16 aircraft, worth $4.8 billion, in the largest military deal in the history of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced the approval of two military deals to sell 25 F-16 fighter aircraft to the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as another deal for the development of 23 Moroccan aircraft of the same model, to be upgraded to the multi-tasking F-16V fighters.

According to the report, which Arabi21 quoted, the total of the two military deals amounted to “almost $5 billion, an unprecedented amount in the history of the Kingdom’s military deals.”

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This came in a report published by the DSCA official website, which stated that the Pentagon has approved the Moroccan government’s request to purchase 25 F-16C/D Block 72 fighter aircraft for an estimated cost of $3.87 billion.

The DSCA said that “this proposed sale will improve the foreign policy and national security of a major Non-NATO ally.”

“Morocco is still an important force of political stability and economic progress in North Africa,” the DSCA added.

The Agency also stated that the proposed sale “will contribute to Morocco’s self-defence capabilities.  The purchase will improve interoperability with the United States and other regional allies, and will enhance Morocco’s ability to undertake coalition operations, as it has done in the past in flying sorties against Daesh in Syria and Iraq.”

The DSCA noted that “Morocco already operates an F-16 fleet and will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft and services into its armed forces.”

To persuade Congress to vote in favour of the deal, the Agency reminded congressional deputies that Morocco is a US strategic Non-NATO ally and that such deals had already been signed with the kingdom during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2004.