Morocco Sourcing Israeli, Turkish Technology at Steady Pace for Challenges Ahead

Morocco is sourcing Israeli technology in an accelerated manner. Before a few months, Rabat and IAI concluded an agreement worth 500 million dollars, for the acquisition of an anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system Barak MX as well as to afford state-of-the-art military equipment.

“Equipment in collective drone systems meets a long-term operational need”, told us a source familiar with the matter. Rabat does not skimp on the means to place orders for advanced drones intended for military reconnaissance and intelligence missions. Morocco has offered itself 150 WanderB and ThunderB VTOL drones, manufactured by the Israeli company BlueBird (50% owned by Israel Aerospace Industries -IAI-) and is evaluating the purchase of several Israeli-made UAS aircraft, according to reports. media. Part of the production of these drones will be carried out in Morocco, both those intended for ISR missions and those which are armed. The WanderB stands out for its ability to operate anywhere without the need for a runway and can take off and land vertically. It is characterized by its low noise level since it uses electric motors.

This is not the first time that Morocco has negotiated with Israeli industry. Last year, IAI invoiced Morocco for $22 million for an order for several Harop unmanned aircraft.

In addition, also in 2021, the official magazine of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces confirmed an agreement between the army and the Israeli company BlueBird Aero Systems, which included WanderB drones, which were tested during military maneuvers by the Moroccan army. in the Ouarzazate region in June 2019. The transaction price was estimated at $50 million.

Beyond these sophisticated equipment purchases, Morocco aspires to set up its own national production. “The objective is to install industrial units to manufacture drones, in Morocco, thanks to Israeli technology, said Nizar Derdabi, a former senior officer in the Royal Gendarmerie and security expert. The rate of local integration, low at the start, is set to increase over the years.”

Israel, but also Turkey

In April 2021, Rabat ordered a total of 13 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones in April “as part of the modernization of the arsenal of the FAR in order to prepare to face any danger and the recent hostilities”, had indicated the Far-Morocco forum, a credible source on the issues. Following the contract signed with the Turkish company Baykar, amounting to 70 million dollars, Moroccan military personnel followed a training program in Turkey for several weeks, said the specialized site.

Morocco already uses unmanned aircraft for intelligence and border surveillance purposes, according to military experts in that country. At the end of November 2021, Rabat and Tel Aviv signed a historic military agreement, the first between Israel and a country in the Arab world. This is supposed to provide “a solid framework to formalize security relations and support future collaborations”, according to a statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry. In the background, deeper cooperation in intelligence and supply.

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