A recent document from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) revealed that Morocco has ordered 25 new F-16 fighter jets of the latest generation. A large order that has been approved by the US Department of Defense and awaits the final approval of the US Congress.
In this regard, the press secretary of the US embassy in Rabat said that this order had nothing to do with the combined Moroccan-American “African Lion”.
Insisting that the arms contracts between Morocco and the United States were not linked to the maneuvers of the “African Lion”, the diplomat also wished to recall that this exercise aims at consolidating the level of cooperation and training as well as the exchange of experience and knowledge between the various military components to enable them to achieve their full operational capability.
The press officer also said that this year’s exercise has seen the use of live ammunition for the first time, indicating that next year’s exercise will be of greater magnitude.
The diplomatic official did not fail to stress the need “to speak and act in unison to counteract the common threats”. And adding that “the military cooperation between Morocco and the United States is part of a long-term commitment of the country of Uncle Sam in favor of bilateral security and our interest in a prosperous and safe region”.
It should be noted that in addition to the 25 new F-16s, the Kingdom also plans to modernize its existing fleet of F-16s. The total cost of these two orders is close to $ 5 billion.
Thus, for the 25 new F16, Morocco will disburse not less than 3,778 billion dollars. While for the modernization of the 23 F-16s it currently has, the Kingdom will have to pay the estimated $ 985.2 million.
“The Moroccan government has asked for the purchase of twenty-five (25) F-16C / D Block 72 aircraft,” the US State Department said, listing military equipment and other equipment ordered.
“This sale will contribute to US foreign policy and national security by helping to enhance the security of a major non-NATO ally, which continues to be an important force for political stability and progress in North Africa,” said the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a statement.
And add that “Morocco is already operating a fleet of F-16 and will have no difficulty in absorbing this aircraft and its services in its armed forces.”
“The implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 10 US government representatives and approximately 75 contract representatives in Morocco,” they concluded.
Recall also that the 16th edition of the “African Lion” has the participation of military units and observers from five countries representing Africa, Europe and North America, in this case Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Senegal, Tunisia, in addition to the United States of America and the Kingdom of Morocco.