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Morocco prepares to receive new generation of F-16 Block 72 multirole fighters

To receive the new generation of F-16 Block 72 multirole fighters ordered by the Kingdom in March 2019, Morocco is modernizing its air bases. Two large air bases of the Royal Air Forces (FRA) should soon see upgrade work.

The American Air Force in search of contractors interested in carrying out work in Morocco. These achievements mainly concern the fifth air base located in Benslimane. The successful contractor will design and build an aircraft shutdown system and safety management system, a cleaning area for testing aircraft engines, as well as a flight and safety simulator and facilities of storage.

The second project will involve the construction of a secure storage facility at the sixth air base located in Benguerir. No date for the end of the work has been set, leaving it up to the contractor to submit an initial schedule 42 days after contract award. For now, the sixth base is the only one to host F-16 Block 52+ fighter squadrons in Morocco, but with the acquisition of 25 new Block 72 aircraft (the latest evolution of the venerable Fighting Falcon) and the at the level of 23 Vipers in Block 72, the Kingdom will have to acquire new infrastructures to accommodate the new aircraft which have cost it $ 4.7 billion. The delivery of the first F-16 Block 72 is expected to take place in 2024. Morocco currently operates 23 F-16 Block 52+ fighters.

As a reminder, the F-16V Viper Block 70/72 is the last version of Lockheed Martin’s famous F-16 unveiled in February 2012 (first flight in October 2015). According to its manufacturer, the Viper has, among other things, the AESA radar with active antenna APG-83 from Northrop Grumman, some features of which come from the radars of the F-22 Raptor (air superiority) and the F-35 Lightning II (attack at ground). This radar makes it possible to strengthen its capacities in operational conditions with in particular a digital mapping of the area of ​​operations, a strike capacity in all weather, the simultaneous monitoring of twenty different targets, the conduct of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in during the same aerial excursion, etc …

It is also equipped with an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS), automatic ground tracking, modern communication systems capable of communicating with so-called “5th generation” aircraft, digital and touch screens, a new navigation and precision system by GPS, etc … In the cockpit, the avionics of the F-16V have been completely revised with in particular the integration in the center of the panel, in front of the pilot, of a high-resolution digital screen that provides day and night, according to Lockheed Martin, “a tactical image” of the environment and images captured by the designation and observation pod, the use of which is easier compared to older versions.

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