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Morocco: United States approves new arms deal

The new deal, costing $141.1 million, would include the sale of new tactical systems
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PHOTO/REUTERS  -   US Army MIM-104 Patriots surface-to-air missile system (SAM) launchers

Following the recent visit of US Major General Todd Wasmund to Morocco, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has reported on a possible new arms sale to Rabat. Included in this current cooperation would be Morocco's purchase of wireless tactical and ground control systems at an estimated cost of $141.1 million.

In this operation, the Moroccan government has also requested the purchase of six joint tactical multifunctional information radio systems (MIDS-JTRS). According to the Agency's press release, this would include "KY-100M narrowband/wideband terminals, KIV-78 and KIV-77 cryptographic applications, an AN/PYQ-10 single key loader (SKL), additional secure communications and cryptographic devices" and "precision navigation equipment; unclassified and classified software, software support and support equipment".

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PHOTO/EJERCITO DE LOS ESTADOS - General Todd Wasmund, Commander of the US Army Task Force Southern Europe Africa in Morocco

They indicate that the sale, which has not yet been confirmed, will help Morocco 'enhance its capabilities' in relation to current regional challenges, through intelligence reporting and targeting aimed at improving its 'security and defence'.
 
These new capabilities are intended to serve Morocco as a deterrent, in order to strengthen its defensive capabilities. The new cooperation is also part of the Alawi kingdom's ambitions to become one of the most important regional arms powers. 
 

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - US AH-64 Apache attack helicopters fly overhead during the second annual African Lion military exercise in the Tan-Tan region

In this arms race being waged in North Africa, Morocco intends to continue along this path, making use of the good relations it maintains with the United States, one of its main arms suppliers. Thus, this sale coincides with the modernisation measures Rabat is carrying out in order to continue working on equipping the Moroccan army. The US also assures that this support 'will not alter the basic military balance in the region' or have 'adverse impacts on US defence preparedness'.

In the event of this new acquisition, Morocco would continue to be the largest purchaser of US arms on the African continent. Over the past decade, the Alawite kingdom has upgraded the capabilities of its naval and air forces, having purchased F-16 fighters, Apache helicopters, US-made drones and Patriot air defence systems, as well as G-550 reconnaissance aircraft.

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet of the Royal Moroccan Air Force flies overhead during the "African Lion" military exercise

In addition to the United States, the signing of the Abraham Accords led Israel for the first time to officially initiate diplomatic relations with several Arab countries, including Morocco. In this way, Israel is also making a significant contribution to improving Morocco's capabilities through the sale of drones, aircraft and cyber-attack systems.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.