Morocco’s Robust Commitment to Military Advancements in 2024

Mouad Boudina
Mouad Boudina
4 Min Read
Armed Men

In recent years, Morocco has demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing its armed forces and modernizing its arsenal to bolster its defensive capabilities. According to the specialized Spanish military affairs website “Defensa,” Morocco’s defense budget for 2024 has seen a significant increase, reaching €11.3 billion. This substantial allocation is intended to continue the acquisition and maintenance of military equipment, alongside a strategy to reinforce the development of the national defense industry.

Defensa highlights key defense contracts signed by Morocco in 2023, emphasizing the acquisition of 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launch platforms and a purchase request for 40 AGM-154C JSOW guided bombs for its F-16 fighter jets, amounting to a total cost of $774 million. Washington’s approval of this military equipment sale further underscores Morocco’s dedication to strengthening its armed capabilities.

The acquisition of advanced military technologies, such as HIMARS and JSOW, is expected to significantly enhance Morocco’s military capabilities in precision long-range attacks, as noted by Defensa. The website also reports Morocco’s interest in another system, the PULS missile launcher, with the first battery likely already delivered to the Moroccan army.

Additionally, Morocco has diversified its weaponry sources, acquiring unmanned aerial systems from Israel, including ownership of the SpyX stealth drone developed by BlueBird. The country has also received the first battery of the long-range Barak MX air defense system from Israel’s IAI, showcasing a growing interest in advanced air defense capabilities.

Defensa reveals that Morocco’s military arsenal welcomed the Chinese armed drone Wing Loong II in 2023, marking it as the third armed unmanned aerial system in Morocco’s inventory, following the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and Wing Loong I. Furthermore, negotiations are reportedly underway with Baykar for the acquisition of the AKINCI attack drones, designed for deep-penetration attacks with a payload capacity of 1500 kg and the capability to launch SOM cruise missiles with a range of 280 km.

Turning to the Royal Moroccan Air Force, Defensa notes the receipt of eight new H-135M helicopters in 2023, with plans to acquire a total of 12 for pilot training, search and rescue missions, and transport. Boeing, the American aerospace company, has commenced the production of the first batch of 24 Apache AH-64E helicopters destined for Morocco, set for delivery this year.

In the realm of space, Israel’s IAI has been selected to provide a new satellite for surveillance, expected to replace the “Mohammed VI-A” satellite launched in 2017 at the end of its operational life.

Looking ahead, Morocco is also planning to acquire a coastal missile defense system, with Israeli options (Rafael’s Sea Breaker and IAI’s Blue Spear) and Singapore’s ST Engineering considered as front-runners for the contract. The recent $10 million U.S. grant, including 500 military vehicles under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program, further reinforces Morocco’s commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities and responding effectively to potential threats.

Morocco’s multifaceted approach to military modernization positions it as a key player in the evolving landscape of regional security. The strategic acquisitions and partnerships outlined by Defensa underscore the nation’s proactive stance in bolstering its defense capabilities in the face of emerging challenges.

Mouad Boudina

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