Morocco has requested the sale of 36 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the United States in a deal worth $4.25 billion.
The State Department approved the possible Foreign Military Sale, with the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivering the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale on 19 November.
The Moroccan request covers 24 new AH-64E Apaches with another 12 optional, with Boeing and Lockheed Martin being the prime contractors. The request also includes 79 T700-GE-701D engines (including 6 spares), 18 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars, Link-16 terminals, weapons, spares and training.
Morocco has requested the Apaches be armed with AGM-114R Hellfire missiles (441 new and 110 optional requested), AGM-114L Hellfire missiles (60 requested), Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System munitions (478 installed, 110 optional), AIM-92H Stinger missiles (200 requested) as well as M261 rocket launchers (3 896 new, 1 320 70 mm rockets requested) and 93 000 rounds of 30 mm cannon ammunition.
Self-protection systems requested include AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems, AN/APR-39D(V)2 radar warning systems, AN/AVR-2B laser detecting sets, and Improved Countermeasure Dispensing Systems.
“The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces. Morocco will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence and provide close air support to its forces,” the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency Said.
Morocco has been seeking a new attack helicopter for some time. Earlier this year reports emerged that Morocco had selected the Apache over the T-129 ATAK and Bell AH-1Z. Morocco’s military has no dedicated attack helicopter, instead relying on two dozen Gazelles, which are flown by both Army Aviation and the Royal Moroccan Air Force. The Army also flies several A109s and Alouette IIs, whilst the Air Force flies a dozen CH-47 Chinooks, two dozen SA330 Pumas, two dozen Bell 205s (AB-205As), a dozen AB-206 Jet Rangers, and several AB-212s and Dauphins.
Morocco is the largest buyer of US weapons in Africa, with recent sales worth billions of dollars. For example, the Moroccan army received 222 M1 Abrams main battle tanks, which had been delivered by 2018, and signed a technical support agreement in 2019.
Other significant purchases include 162 new M1A1 tanks at $.75 billion, 300 TOW missile launchers with 1 800 missiles at $180 million, and significant interest in purchasing High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), PATRIOT air defence systems, and G550 reconnaissance aircraft.
In September, Morocco requested the sale of F-16 weapons and ammunition worth $209 million as well as 2 401 TOW-2A anti-tank missiles for $776 million. In March the North African country requested an additional batch of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft and equipment for $3.787 billion.