10 years later, French Mirage 2000D fighter jets are once again flying in the Moroccan skies. The French Air Force aircraft are flying alongside Mirage F1s from the Royal Moroccan Air Force in joint military manoeuvres called 'Echange Air Maroc 2022'.
This Franco-Moroccan exercise is taking place from 16 May to 27 May with the aim of renewing military aeronautical cooperation links between the two armies.
Echange Air Maroc 2022' is also aimed at exchanging experiences between two air forces with the same fighter model. According to a press release from the French Ministry of Defence, these manoeuvres will enable the French forces to acquire "the knowledge necessary for an operational deployment in northern Morocco".
"The youngsters can thus get a first taste of the African desert environment," says Major Nicolas, director of the 'Echange Air Maroc' exercise, according to the Zone Millitaire portal. "It's also great to be able to fly the Mirage F1 that the Moroccans showed us up close. I am amazed by the system that has been modernised inside," he added.
To this end, France has sent three Mirage 2000Ds to Morocco, 80 airmen from various specialities: pilots, navigators, weapons systems officers, mechanics, secretaries, commanders, information technicians and intelligence operators, according to the note.
The training is being conducted in "two waves of sorties per day", which "reinforces interoperability between French and Moroccan combat aviation," the communiqué adds.
These manoeuvres have been called "historic" by the French air force, as it is the first time since 2003 that French and Moroccan fighter jets have flown together. On the other hand, since December 2012, a few weeks before the start of Operation Serval in Mali, French fighters had not participated in air exercises in Morocco.
Echange Air Maroc' reinforces and boosts military cooperation between Morocco and France. These manoeuvres take place months after 'Chergui 2022', a joint exercise between the Moroccan and French armed forces in Errachidia that had a similar objective to the current one: to consolidate ties between the two armies.
Morocco also hosts other important military manoeuvres such as 'African Lion', in which the United States participates. The next exercise of this operation is scheduled to take place between 20 June and 1 July, according to sources close to the organisation of 'African Lion'.
The exercises will take place in Agadir, Tan-Tan, Tarudant, Kenitra and Ben Guerir, and will follow the same objectives as in previous years: to strengthen the anti-terrorist partnership and deal with natural disasters that can be created through the use of chemical and biological materials in the event of a war, according to Atalayar.