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Morocco arms up in another weapons deal with US, this one worth about $1 billion

A Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16 prepares to rejoin the formation after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during an exercise on April 1, 2019. The U.S. military on Sept. 12, 2019 announced the sale of nearly $1 billion in missiles and other weaponry to Morocco had been cleared, including $209 million in bombs to arm Moroccan F-16 fighters.

39TH AIR BASE WING PUBLIC AFFAIR

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 13, 2019

STUTTGART, Germany — Nearly $1 billion in missiles and other weaponry have been cleared for sale to Morocco, a key U.S. counterterrorism partner, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.

The deal, which still requires Congressional approval, calls for the sale of $776 million anti-armor TOW missiles and various supporting elements to bolster Morocco’s ground defenses. In addition, Morocco would receive $209 million in bombs to arm its F-16 fighter-bombers, the DSCA said in a statement Thursday.

The package will include 5,810 MK82-1 bombs, 300 MK84-4 bombs, 105 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and a host of other components.

Morocco requested the arms, which U.S. officials say will help the country deal with threats posed by violent extremist organizations in the region. The sale also will bolster Morocco’s ability to take part in operations against Islamic militants in places like Syria and Iraq, the DSCA said.

The munitions will help Morocco fight alongside “the United States and other regional allies and enhance Morocco’s ability to undertake coalition operations, as it has done in the past in flying sorties against ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” the agency said. “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 continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in Africa.”

The U.S. military has long had close ties with Morocco, where U.S. Marines annually train in one of U.S. Africa Command’s largest drills on the continent, known as African Lion.

In the past year, Washington also cleared for sale upgraded F-16s to Morocco, as well as enhancements for Morocco’s Abrams tank fleet.

vandiver.john@stripes.com
Twitter: @john_vandiver

A Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16 taxis past two F-16C Fighting Falcons during an exercise at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, March 25, 2019. The U.S. military on Sept. 12, 2019 announced the sale of nearly $1 billion in missiles and other weaponry to Morocco, a key counterterrorism partner, had been cleared, including $209 million in bombs to arm Moroccan F-16 fighters.
CEAIRA TINSLEY/U.S. AIR FORCE

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