Morocco requests $250 million F-16 sustainment contract


Morocco has requested a $250.4 million support package from the United States for its F-16 fleet, which would include spares, training and logistics support.

The US State Department on 27 June said it had approved the possible Foreign Military Sale, with Congress notified of the possible deal.

The request covers F-16 support equipment, spares and repair parts; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; munitions support equipment (for AMRAAM, CMBRE, JDAM, PAVEWAY), and support and test equipment, amongst others. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin.

“The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s self-defense capability. Additionally, the continuation of sustainment for their F-16 fleet strengthens the interoperability with the United States and other regional allies,” the State Department said.

The request for F-16 sustainment comes after Morocco in March requested an additional batch of F-16s from the United States, and upgrades to its existing fleet. On 25 March the US State Department said it had made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.787 billion.

The Moroccan request included 29 Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines; 26 APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars; 26 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems; 40 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); 30 M61 Vulcan 20mm Guns; 40 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); three GBU-38/54 JDAM Tail Kits; 50 Paveway II guided bombs, and 60 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB I).

Morocco also requested 26 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pods, 26 AN/ALQ-213 EW Management Systems, 26 Advanced Identification Friend/Foe systems, 26 AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS defensive aids systems and six DB-110 Advanced Reconnaissance Systems.

At the same time as the request for 25 new fighters, Morocco requested upgrades to its 23 existing F-16s, which would bring them to F-16V standard at a cost of $985.2 million. Congress was also notified of the possible sale on 22 March.

In December 2009 Morocco placed an $841.9 million contract with Lockheed Martin for 18 single-seat F-16Cs and six two-seat F-16Ds. These were delivered between August 2011 and August 2012. They have received some upgrades over the years, including AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) systems from Harris Corporation.

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.

Morocco’s F-16s 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.