Morocco requests 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters worth $1.5 billion

The United States has received a request from the Moroccan Government for the procurement of twenty-four of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for $1.5 billion dollars.

Morocco which is planning to significantly increase its defence budget to USD3.9 billion by the year 2022, primarily as a result of recent military procurement by Egypt.

In June 2018, Moroccan media reported that a delegation composing of senior military personnel from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces visited the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) headquarter to discuss the possibility of purchasing the TAI T-129 ATAK helicopter.

However, on July 2018, a counter-report published by The North African Post – a Pan-African media outlet reveals that the country is currently in negotiations with Boeing for the purchase of an undisclosed number of AH-64 Apache helicopters for its Armed Forces.

The North African Post believes that the deal might have been signed-in Washington during a visit by the Moroccan Military Chief of Staff Abdelfattah Lourak on April 2018.

In accordance with potential US Foreign Military Sale (FMS) policies, requests such as these are usually listed the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), although this particular request from Morocco has not been disclosed by the agency.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a US-made attack helicopter, it features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. Armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun and four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.

The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is an upgraded version incorporating 26 key new-technology insertions covering flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT).

The Royal Moroccan Air Force which operates a small fleet of twenty-three SA342 Aérospatiale Gazelles for scout and anti-armour role does not currently field a dedicated attack helicopter. The RMAF which operates all the military’s aviation assets, including forty-seven Bell 205 utility helicopters, five Bell 206 utility helicopters, forty-seven Bell utility helicopters, twenty-six SA330 Puma utility/transport and sixteen
CH-47 Chinooks.

The Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie also flies various utility and transport helicopters, mostly French-made.

Darek Liam

Darek Liam is the North African editor for AMB, where he writes about the intersection of Technology and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as African Union correspondent.

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