Morocco will buy the F-35 from the US to be the largest military power in Africa: Spanish concern
Rabat and Washington signed a military agreement on October 2 that contemplates the possible acquisition of F-35s, the best and most expensive aircraft in the world
Last October 2 marked a milestone in trade and diplomatic relations between the US and Morocco . That day, the two countries signed a "historic" agreement of military character to implement in the next decade.
The ultimate goal of the US Government is to strengthen defense cooperation and prepare the nation governed by Mohamed VI as the best-equipped North African country militarily, bearing in mind that the US Administration is already the largest supplier of weapons to Morocco.
In this way, with the new headings in 2020 , Morocco has designed the roadmap for the next decade in North Africa with cooperation in different areas: "Freedom of navigation, intelligence exchange and disaster response operations", according to the Pentagon. To this can be added, according to sources from Rabat, the “acquisition and manufacture of weapons material"
In this way, the Moroccan military commitment to the US machinery will strengthen in the next ten years. And Morocco will benefit from many privileges.
The first is to guarantee the "exclusivity" of US military supplies for the benefit of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, especially with regard to the F-16s, to which the US is introducing a series of technical and technological modifications.
Likewise, it will have the possibility to acquire the changes of the 6x6 Cougars armored vehicles and the MIM-104 Patriot long-range surface-to-air missile system, exclusively for Africa
Morocco is among the 22 countries that will acquire advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) in a contract worth 768 million dollars to be completed in February 2023, as confirmed by the US Department of Defense.
"The contract provides for the production of AMRAAM missiles, captive air training missiles, guidance sections, AMRAAM telemetry system, spare parts and other production engineering support hardware," the Pentagon department reported in a statement in late 2019.
In addition, this agreement will allow the development of Moroccan hardware and its opening to the American market. In turn, "the Moroccan military modernization will open the doors to enter the club of countries that have fourth generation aircraft with AESA radars, very similar to the F-35, the jewel of the fifth generation of the American army", published last week the Moroccan digital Hespress .
From the Moroccan intelligence they point out to EL ESPAÑOL that “in this decade Morocco will be able to acquire the F-35s.
But, in addition, one of the fears in Madrid is the possibility that Morocco will also join the club of arms producing countries. This would constitute a threat to their strategic and vital interests in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Something that was revealed by the deputy minister in charge of national defense, Abdeltif Loudyi, when proposing to “consolidate military cooperation with the United States by promoting joint investment projects in Morocco in the defense industry sector, with a view to promoting the transfer of technology and gradually build the strategic autonomy of the country in this area ”.
And the thing is that the US will give the Maghreb country the keys to manufacture weapons with American technology, with which it will build drones and radars. For example, as EL ESPAÑOL has learned, Washington will transfer the RQ-4 Global Hawk technology to the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and attack. It is the largest drone in the world of the US military.
Considered the contemporary “spy plane” , it performs the so-called ISR missions: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance of land and sea spaces by day and night and up to 34 hours at a time.
The agreement also includes a cybersecurity and cyber defense collaboration. In the expansion of the Alcazaseguir naval base, in northern Morocco, a few kilometers from Ceuta, the National Security Agency (NSA) , the intelligence of the American naval navy attached to the Department of Defense, and also the CIA will be installed. it will expand its personnel and intelligence units.
The NSA intercepts the communications of other countries and secures the communications of the US Government , both internally and with its allies. Almost all the information regarding this agency is classified and the exact number of its employees and their locations is unknown, although it is known that it has stations in American bases deployed around the world and also in the military bases of its allies, at least in 35 countries.
According to sources consulted by EL ESPAÑOL, in Morocco "it will be installed at the Alcazaseguir naval base to control transit through the Strait of Gibraltar, but, in addition, they will build an American military base, presumably in the north eastern part of the country."
The inspector general of the Royal Armed Forces, Abdelfettah Louarak, specified in a statement that "the cooperation includes the organization of combined exercises, the exchange of information visits and participation in various trainings and training practices."
He also highlighted the importance of the African Lion multilateral exercises, known throughout the region as essential maneuvers for several countries, which this year were not carried out due to the closing of the borders due to the pandemic. Normally, they extend in the south of Morocco, but in the future their scope will be extended to the Sahel.
From the headquarters of the Department of Defense they explained that the agreement took two years to negotiate and could serve as a model for future US pacts with other governments in Africa.
In Morocco , the agreement was signed during the three-day visit to Rabat by the US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, at the beginning of October. For the US Administration, "Morocco is a strategic ally outside of NATO and a gateway to the African continent," said Esper.
He added that "for trade links and exchanges, we must strengthen our defense capabilities and develop partnerships with African governments", recalling that "Morocco is a leader in this area." Despite everything, Algeria , its great rival in the region, remains the greatest military power on the African continent.
Regarding the security aspect, the new American ambassador in Rabat, David T. Fischer, stressed that "the US and Morocco remain determined in their intention to promote religious freedom and fight against violent extremism."
Thus, on October 6, the United Nations Office Against Terrorism (UNOCT) and Morocco signed an agreement on their establishment in Rabat to develop counter-terrorism capacity and cooperation in Africa.
The training center will design and deliver specialized anti-terrorism and law enforcement programs to requesting member states in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, with an initial focus on the Sahel. In addition, it will develop national counter-terrorism curricula in line with human rights.
As EL ESPAÑOL has learned, Abdellatif Hammouchi, in command of the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), decorated by the Spanish and French governments for his fight against terrorism, is the strongest candidate to direct this training center.
The friendship treaty between both countries dates from 1786 and was renegotiated in 1836. Ambassador Fischer already defended last summer before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the North American Senate that this association is "vital" and "must be consolidated" economically and politically, as well. as in terms of security cooperation. To which Mark Esper of the Pentagon added in his recent visit to Rabat: "In many respects, Morocco is the first friendly country of the United States of America".
Forbes magazine reported that “Morocco was the largest US arms customer in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2019,” and that “Washington reached arms deals with Rabat worth about $ 10.3 billion last year".