Morocco buys Apache helicopters from the United States

The purchase will be for 24 air vehicles and coincides with the reopening of the Jurigba military airport, which has been undergoing rehabilitation work for some time

PHOTO/AFP  -   Apache helicopter PHOTO/AFP

Morocco continues to improve its defence system with the purchase of armaments and sophisticated missiles. Now, the Alawi Kingdom is preparing to receive a purchase of 24 Apache helicopters, which it has obtained from the United States. These have been ordered by the Royal Air Force and are currently undergoing technical modifications to improve them so that they can be put into use as soon as possible. 

Morocco also plans to upgrade a batch of 12 older helicopters, which it has already begun to make the necessary modifications to upgrade. Specifically, the model purchased by the Kingdom is the AH-64E Apache Guardian combat vehicle. It is an attack helicopter that has been produced by the US since 2008. It is a multi-engine helicopter with two propellers, a main propeller, and a tail propeller. It has sensors, software, long-range weapons and a system with the necessary tools for successful attacks.

"US Apache helicopters have high-precision combat capabilities and have monitoring systems equipped with precise technology that allows pilots to control landing operations," says Mohamed Chaker, an expert in military and security affairs. He adds that the technology of these aircraft is highly advanced and can be coordinated with drones to carry out attacks. 

"Apache helicopters represent the latest defensive aircraft that feature advanced sensors and warning devices," he added.

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To receive this new order, the Moroccan Department of National Defence began a few months ago to start repairing and rehabilitating the military airport of Jurigba, a province located in the centre of Morocco. The airport was already somewhat obsolete, and its reinforcement will improve the entire defence of the Kingdom. When completed, it will become the main base where these attack helicopters will operate. The airfield was originally used as a French base in 1945, but after decolonisation in 1960 it was handed over to the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, who began to use it for their own benefit. 

Morocco's close relationship with the United States is increasingly evident. For some time now, the two countries have been collaborating in the military sphere, with the US selling a number of military equipment to the Kingdom, and even working together on military operations. One of these is the African Lion, which brings together these two territories with some regions of Africa, where armies are prepared to fight against terrorist threats on the continent and to prepare for rapid action in the event of an attack that could produce any natural catastrophe. This year's operation is scheduled to take place between 20 June and 1 July, with action mainly in the cities of Agadir, Tan-Tan, Tarudant, Kenitra and Ben Guerir.

The Kingdom is in a huge phase of expanding its entire arsenal and is investing heavily in re-establishing weapons and defence systems. Apart from the US, Morocco is collaborating with other nations that are providing it with military cargo such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, France, China and Israel. 

Morocco, as a trading partner after the US recognition of Western Sahara's sovereignty, is interested in all the equipment the US possesses. Accordingly, many Moroccan media have revealed the Kingdom's interest in buying the Patriot, one of the best defence missiles on the arms market. An agreement is also envisaged for the transfer of 25 F-16 aircraft.

Purchases have not been few and far between. From seven fast attack ships known as FAC, a Turkish Gölcül corvette, MDBA MICA missiles (intercept, combat and self-defence missile), SKY DRAGON missiles, the Iron Dome - an air defence system capable of intercepting rockets launched for attack -, kamikaze drones, etc. In addition to all this, the Moroccan government has increased its budget exclusively for defence, as well as resuming compulsory military service.