Morocco has requested the sales of ten Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched anti-ship missiles from the United States in a $62 million deal.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on 14 April. The proposed sale includes containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa,” the US Department of State said.
“The proposed sale of the missiles and support will increase the Moroccan Air Force’s maritime partnership potential and align its capabilities with existing regional baselines. Morocco intends to use the missiles on its F-16, multi-role fighter aircraft to enhance its capabilities in effective defence of critical sea-lanes.”
The Royal Moroccan Air Force currently flies 23 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft that it received from 2011 to 2012 (one was lost over Yemen during operations as part of the Saudi-led coalition). The DSCA recently approved the upgrade of these aircraft to the latest F-16V Block 70/72 standard, as well as the procurement of a further 25 new-build F-16Vs.
The Harpoon is a well-established radar-guided over-the-horizon missile, with a range of more than 100 kilometres. It has been progressively upgraded and is available in Block II form (with GPS/INS guidance), capable of anti-ship and land strike missions using a 227 kg warhead. The Harpoon was also developed into the Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) and Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) versions.
The version being sold to Morocco is a Non-Coastal Target Suppression land attack weapon.