Morocco’s order of 25 F16 on track to meet deadline

Morocco’s order of an additional 25 F-16C/D Block 72 fighter jets is on course of completion after the U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $212.05 million delivery order to provide fighter aircraft engines.

In March 2019, the State Department approved the sale to Morocco of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 jets, built by Lockheed Martin and 29 Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines and other related equipment from the U.S. government under a potential $3.9 billion deal.

This delivery will further bolster Morocco’s air force supremacy in the region as the North African country plans to revamp its operating fleet of 23 F16 with state-of-the art electronic systems and weaponry for $983 million.

The Moroccan military ordered 24 F-16s in 2008 and lost one in 2015 while taking part in the Saudi-led air operations in Yemen.

The F-16 Block 70/72 is the newest and most advanced F-16 configuration to date, with a structural life more than 50 percent beyond that of previous F-16 aircraft, according to Lockheed Martin. It features an active radar with new avionics and software that takes advantage of new technologies.

Separately, Morocco is filling the gap in terms of offensive air capabilities by placing an order for 36 mighty Apache helicopters and related equipment for a total cost of 4.25 billion dollars.

Soon after the proclamation by President Trump of the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara and the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel, Reuters reported that the US moved forward with the sale of four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones and precision-guided weapons worth $1 billion to Morocco.

Morocco and the United States are bound by a defense agreement, entitled “Roadmap for 2020-2030 defense cooperation between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States of America.”

The agreement paves the way for an all-out cooperation in the strategic military field, the procurement of arms and equipment, military training in all sectors, as well as intelligence exchange between the two countries.

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