Morocco to get Abrams MBT

Morocco is to acquire 200 upgraded Abrams M1A1 main battle tanks that will receive US$1 billion in upgrades paid for by US taxpayers before delivery.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of the Kingdom of 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.
Morocco does not currently operate the M1 and the M1A1 Special Armor (SA) configuration tanks are to be provided as part of a grant Excess Defense Article (EDA) – again at cost to the US.
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 7.62MM M240 Machine Guns. The possible sale also includes 12 049 842 ammunition rounds (including 1400 C785 SABOT, 1800 CA31 HEAT, and 5400 AA38 SLAP-T), 200 M250 Smoke Grenade Launchers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, communication support, US Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related logistics support.
“This proposed sale will contribute to 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 Africa.

This package of M1A1 tank enhancements will contribute to the modernization of Morocco’s tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats. These tanks will contribute to Morocco’s goal of updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the US and other allies,” the agency told Congress in a standard paragraph. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Morocco currently has on inventory some 40 East bloc T72 MBT, 220 US M60 MBT, and 116 Austrian SK-105 Kürassier light tanks. Some 200 M48 remain in storage. To date the sole African user of the Abrams has been Egypt, which also co-produces the huge vehicle.
The US and Morocco regularly hold joint exercise, the latest being Saharan Express and Phoenix Express earlier this year.
In recent years, the Royal Moroccan Air Force took delivery of the first of 24 Block 52 F-16 Fighting Falcons from Lockheed Martin, fitted with Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 Enhanced Engine Package engines and Raytheon ACES electronic warfare suites.