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US State Department approves $4.25 billion Apache helicopter sale to Morocco

Much to the discontent of its other «allies», Morocco continues to favor the American market to equip its army. On Wednesday, the US State Department approved a military sale to Morocco of 36 Apache attack helicopters for an estimated cost of $4.25 billion.

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An AH-64 E Apache attack helicopter. / Ph. DR

The US State Department approved a military sale to Morocco of thirty-six AH-64 E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) wrote this week.

In a press release made public, Wednesday, DSCA stated that it had delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the $4.25 billion worth (about 40 billion dirhams) possible sale on 19 November.

In addition to the 36 Apache attack helicopters, Morocco will be receiving seventy-nine T700-GE-701D engines, thirty-six modernized night vision sensors, eighteen fire control radars, five hundred fifty-one Hellfire missiles and several other military articles.

More than $10 billion worth military deals in 2019

The State Department stressed in its press release that this deal «will improve Morocco's capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces». It also explained that the Kingdom «will have no difficulty absorbing the Apache aircraft into its armed forces».

The same communiqué stresses that «the proposed sale of this equipment and services will not alter the basic military balance in the region». It also states that «there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s)».

For the record, Morocco’s Minister-Delegate for National Defense said last week that the Kingdom is planning to develop its defense industry by making its suppliers share their maintenance technology and know-how with the Royal Armed Forces through offset agreements.

The Kingdom «seeks to develop the maintenance of military equipment by imposing, as much as possible, on its suppliers the need of sharing the maintenance technology of the purchased equipment through offset agreements», the minister said.

Through this deal, Morocco is upgrading its military fleet, knowing that in March 2019 it has already requested the acquisition of 25 new F-16 fighter jets and the upgrading of its former 23 jets of the same type for a cost of $5 billion. Six months later, the State Department announced the signing of a nearly $1 billion worth deal with Morocco for the sale of missiles and bombs to equip the F-16 jets.

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