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US approves $550m in arms sales to Morocco 

According to Army Technology, the purchase is also anticipated to improve the Royal Armed Forces' ability to cooperate with US forces and expand the Royal Moroccan Air Force's potential for maritime partnerships.

April 12, 2023 at 3:49 pm

The US State Department announced yesterday that it has approved the sale of missiles and other arms to Morocco at a total value of $524.2 million.

According to a statement from the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency: “The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s capability to meet current and future threats and will contribute to Morocco’s ability to detect threats and control its borders, contributing to the maintenance of regional stability and security.”

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the military balance in the region,” it added.

The sales of military equipment and systems from the US, include 18 high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) launchers, 40 army tactical missile systems (ATACMS), 72 guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS) munitions, nine HMMWV vehicles and 40 AGM-154C joint standoff weapons (JSOW).

The approval determines Morocco as the first North African country to acquire HIMARS military systems. Currently, only Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) possess the Lockheed-made system among the Arab states.

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The purchase is also expected to enhance the Royal Armed Forces’ interoperability with US forces and increase the Royal Moroccan Air Force’s maritime partnership potential, reported Army Technology.

The sale of HIMARS mobile artillery systems comes as Morocco draws closer to Washington following the signing of the Abraham Accords in December 2020. Rabat re-established diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, in return for Washington recognising “Moroccan sovereignty” over the Western Sahara, a region claimed by the Polisario Front, backed by Algeria.

The pace of partnership between the two countries has accelerated since then, especially in the fields of military equipment (drones) and cybersecurity. Trade between the two countries increased 32 per cent in 2022, while the number of Israeli tourists visiting Morocco is also on the rise.