Moroccan M1 tanks in service

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Morocco’s military has introduced into service the first of its recently acquired M1A1SA main battle tanks.

At least two upgraded Abrams tanks were seen moving through Casablanca on 10 July. On 26 July the state-owned Medi1 television channel published images of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces accepting the first Abrams in a ceremony at the Central Establishment for Management and Material Storage (ECGCM) near Casablanca. At least six tanks were visible.

The ceremony on 26 July was attended by the Consul General of the United States, Moroccan military officials and representatives from the US military and General Dynamics Land Systems.

The Royal Moroccan Army is set to receive 200 upgraded M1A1 tanks by 2018. In June 2012 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Morocco for enhancement and refurbishment of 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks and associated parts, equipment, logistical support and training for an estimated cost of $1.015 billion.

On 28 August 2015 the US Army awarded General Dynamics a $17 million contract to remove and dispose of 50 M1A1 frontal armour packages and install the M1A1 situational awareness frontal turret armour packages for Morocco. Work was due to be completed by 30 November 2016.

This contract was followed by another on 28 September last year for 150 upgraded M1A1s. General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded a $358 000 000 foreign military sales contract for the conversion of 150 M1A1 vehicles to the M1A1 special armour configuration. Estimated completion date of this contract is 28 February 2018.

The M1A1 Special Armour (SA) configuration tanks are being provided as part of a grant Excess Defense Article (EDA). The upgrade covers the provision and installation of 150 AN/VRC-87E and 50 AN/VRC-89E Exportable Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), 200 M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, and 400 7.62 mm M240 Machine Guns. The sale also included 12 049 842 ammunition rounds (including 1400 C785 SABOT, 1800 CA31 HEAT, and 5400 AA38 SLAP-T), 200 M250 Smoke Grenade Launchers, support equipment, spares and training.

According to the World Defence Almanac 2015, Morocco’s tank inventory 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 sole African user of the Abrams up until now has been Egypt, which also co-produces the vehicle.