Morocco’s request to buy 36 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for an estimated value of USD4.25 billion has been approved.
This was announced on 20 November, by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The DSCA disclosed that the approval covers the latest-variant Apache helicopters, as well as related equipment, weapons, training, and support.
On the DSCA notification, the weapons listed comprises of the Lockheed Martin AGM-114L/R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles; BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket kits and over 5,000 70 mm rockets; and Raytheon AIM-92H Stinger air-to-air missiles.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major Non-NATO ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa,”The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
The first indication of Morocco’s interest in the Apache helicopter was on July, 2018 when July 2018, a report published by The North African Post – a Pan-African media outlet reveals that the country was in negotiations with Boeing to purchase an undisclosed number of AH-64 Apache helicopters for its Armed Forces.
Morocco initially requested for twenty-four of Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for $1.5 billion dollars.
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.
Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter
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.
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