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Washington to sell Morocco 162 Abrams tanks for an estimated cost of $1.259 billion

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on November the 29th that the US is selling Morocco 162 Abrams tanks for USD 1.259 billion. The sale, which has not been concluded yet, is conducted through the Excess Defense Article program.

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An M1 Abrams Tank./Ph. DR

The United States State Department approved on Wednesday, November the 28th, a possible foreign military sale to Morocco of enhancements to 162 Abrams tanks for an estimated cost of USD 1.259 billion, reports Le Desk quoting a press release issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

In its communique made public Thursday, the US Department of Defense stressed that the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress of this possible sale. The latter has been approved through the Excess Defense Article (EDA), a program that transfers excess defense equipment to foreign governments or international organizations for a reduced cost.

The possible sale includes 162 M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, 324 M240 Machine Guns, 1,035 Training SABOT Rounds, 162 Export Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, and 162 RT-1702 Receiver Transmitters.

According to the same statement, the deal covers also «162 M250 Smoke Grenade Launchers M962 .50 caliber rounds, special armor, Hunter/Killer technology, which may include the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) or Slew to Cue solution, Commander’s Weapon Station Variant which may include the Commander’s Weapon Station (CWS), Stabilized Commander’s Weapon Station (SCWS), or Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station- Low Profile (CROW-LP)».

Morocco, a client of the EDA program

Once the deal is concluded, Morocco will benefit from «spare parts, support equipment, upgrade/maintenance of engines and transmissions, depot level support, Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE), repair parts, communication support equipment, tool and test equipment, training, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support».

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency stressed in its communiqué that the sale aims at supporting «the basic military balance in the region» and respects the «foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States».

Although the sale has not been concluded yet, the American agency indicates that it would boost the military fleet of the Kingdom and that its implementation would require «annual trips to Morocco involving up to 55 U.S. Government and 13 contractor representatives for a period of up to five years to manage the fielding and training for the program».

For the record, the Excess Defense Article (EDA) was implemented by the US government since 1961 to primarily «support U. S. allies in their modernization efforts and to assist Latin American and Caribbean nations in their counter-narcotics programs».

Reviewing US government documents in April, Washington-based newspaper Al-Monitor stated that Morocco is one of the countries that relies heavily on the EDA program. It indicated that the country is believed to be the largest US weapons buyer in Africa.

The same source states that Morocco’s purchases account for more than a quarter of the $430 million the EDA program has approved during the first year of Trump administration to the Middle East, quoting Department of Defense records.

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