More upgraded Abrams tanks on the way to Morocco


The Moroccan military will soon be taking delivery of another batch of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks from the United States.

A train convoy of Abrams tanks in Moroccan military markings was recently seen moving through Covington, Georgia, on its way from Anniston, Alabama, to the port of Charleston. The vehicles were due to be put aboard a ship and sailed to Casablanca.

The first upgraded Abrams were seen in Casablanca in July 2016 and were accepted into the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces that same month. That followed contracts for the modernisation of some 200 Abrams tanks in a deal worth just over $1 billion. Work is conducted by General Dynamics Land Systems.

According to the US Excess Defense Articles database, in 2017 Morocco had requested 222 Abrams tanks and 162 had been allocated.

The upgrade covers the M1A1 Special Armour (SA) configuration and is being provided as part of a Excess Defense Article (EDA) grant. The upgrade covers the provision and installation of AN/VRC-87E and 50 AN/VRC-89E Exportable Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, and 7.62 mm M240 Machine Guns. The sale also included 12 049 842 rounds of ammunition (including 1400 C785 SABOT, 1800 CA31 HEAT, and 5400 AA38 SLAP-T tank gun rounds), support equipment, spares and training.

Morocco’s tank inventory is estimated to includes some 48 T-72s, 320 M60s (including 120 M60A3TTS), 184 M-48A5s (in storage) and 116 Austrian SK-105 Kürassier light tanks (also in storage).

The EDA database also lists Morocco as having accepted 2 665 M500 shotguns in 2017 and 76 Oshkosh M1070P1 trucks.

In 2016 it reports Morocco received vast quantities of excess hardware, including 57 000 M16 assault rifles, 3 700 M240 machineguns, 50 Mk 19 40 mm grenade launchers, 1 828 .50 calibre M2 machineguns, 908 7.62 mm rifles, 17 000 M203 grenade launchers, 4 500 M60 machineguns and 7 000 M249 machineguns.

Vehicle deliveries for 2016 included 400 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 100 M915 trucks, 110 M916 trucks as well as dozens of cargo trailers, fuel carriers, recovery and other vehicles.