Moroccan Air Force orders countermeasures for its F-16s

3779

The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) has ordered AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) systems from Harris Corporation to help protect its F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet.

The contract is worth $91 million and was announced by Harris on 10 January. It was awarded via the Warner Robins Air Logistics Centre during the second quarter of Harris’ fiscal 2017 year.

Harris said it will supply AIDEWS systems, spares and support equipment and services to Morocco to help protect the RMAF F-16 aircraft fleet against current and evolving electronic threats. “The combat-ready ALQ-211(V)4 EW system is a low-risk, modular solution that provides powerful capabilities and mission-based adaptability that have made it the top choice for five other international allies,” the company said.
“AIDEWS’ integrated radar warning and RF [radio frequency] countermeasures defend against modern sophisticated electronic threats,” said Ed Zoiss, president, Harris Electronic Systems. “Harris is committed to rapidly fielding this proven capability to support the Royal Moroccan Air Force’s pilots and enable their mission.”

AIDEWS will replace some of its Raytheon Advanced Countermeasures Electronic System (ACES) suites installed on the Moroccan F-16s.

The US Department of Defence on 22 November last year announced that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a $16 306 208 contract for the upgrade of Morocco’s F-16s under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme. The US Department of Defence did not say what the upgrade work would cover.

Morocco ordered eighteen Block 50 F-16Cs and six two-seat Block 52 F-16Ds from Lockheed Martin in 2008 for more than $1.07 billion. The aircraft are equipped with Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines with the Engine Enhancement Package (EEP), which improves reliability and serviceability.

Morocco’s F-16s are equipped with a variety of extra equipment, including Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pods, Goodrich DB-110 airborne reconnaissance pods and Raytheon’s Advanced Countermeasures Electronic System (ACES). Armament includes AIM-9X Block II Sidewinders with lock on after launch capability, AGM-65D Maverick air-to-surface missiles and Enhanced GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bomb kits.

Lockheed Martin delivered Morocco’s F-16s between August 2011 and 2012. They are deployed at Ben Guerir Air Base north of Marrakech. Since entering service they have been used to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria from late 2014 and have been used to strike Houthi targets in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition there. One was lost in a crash in Yemen in May 2015 due to apparent technical failure.