Morocco receiving BlueBird UAVs

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Israel’s BlueBird Aero is supplying over 100 WanderB and ThunderB unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Moroccan Army

The company confirmed the selection of its aircraft on 25 September, after the WanderB was seen for the first time in early September during the Maroc Mantlet 2022 disaster response exercise.

It is believed that Morocco ordered 150 aircraft from BlueBird in 2021, with part production in Morocco, under an estimated $50 million contract, LeDesk reports.

BlueBird said the Royal Moroccan Army had purchased dozens of ThunderB and WanderB UAVs and that they are being used for intelligence, surveillance, targeting and reconnaissance (ISTAR), border security, law enforcement, convoy and force protection, and artillery spotting.

The WanderB is a vertical takeoff and landing UAV powered by electric motors – it uses four rotors for vertical takeoff and landing and a pusher propeller and fixed wing for horizontal flight. It has an endurance of 2.5 hours and communications range of 50 km. Maximum takeoff weight is 13 kg, of which half can be payload, including day or night cameras. Wingspan is three metres.

The ThunderB conventional takeoff and landing UAV has an endurance of 12 hours, range of up to 150 km and maximum takeoff weight of 35 kg.

Morocco is also reported to have acquired Harop loitering munitions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in a deal reportedly worth $22 million and apparently plans to acquire Hermes 450 UAVs. It has also acquired Harfang UAVs and Skylock counter-UAV systems.

Late last year Morocco acquired a number of Bayraktar TB2 UAVs from Turkey – apparently 13 were acquired in 2020. As the TB2 can be armed, they were likely acquired for air-to-ground combat operations.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Moroccan military has procured an unspecified number of Wing Loong II UAVs from China as part of its continuing effort to bolster its capabilities. The Wing Loong II is fitted with electronic reconnaissance and communication equipment and can also carry small air-to-ground precision attack weapons.