Morocco to receive 150 upgraded M1A1 tanks


The Royal Moroccan Army will receive 150 upgraded M1A1 main battle tanks by 2018 under a $358 million contract awarded to General Dynamics Land Systems.

The United States Department of Defence on 28 September announced that the US Army Contracting Command had awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $358 000 000 firm-fixed-price undefinitised foreign military sales contract for Morocco for the conversion of 150 M1A1 vehicles to the M1A1 situational awareness configuration.

Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of 28 February 2018. “One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2010 other procurement funds in the amount of $11 975 143 were obligated at the time of the award,” the Pentagon said.

This follows an earlier contract awarded to General Dynamics. On 28 August the US Army awarded the company 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 the Kingdom of Morocco.

The work will be carried out at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) in Lima, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of 30 November 2016, reports IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

In June 2012 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency 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 Armour (SA) configuration tanks are to be 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 7.62MM M240 Machine Guns. The possible 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 has been Egypt, which also co-produces the vehicle.

The US and Morocco regularly hold joint exercises, such as Saharan Express and Phoenix Express.

In recent years, the Royal Moroccan Air Force received 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.