Morocco cleared by U.S. government to buy 36 Apache gunships

The U.S. State Department has approved the foreign military sale of three dozen Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related weapons and equipment to Morocco for more than $4 billion.

Morocco has requested to buy 24 new Apache gunships with options for 12 more aircraft. Sam Yeh/Getty Images Photo
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Morocco requested to buy 24 new Apache gunships with options for 12 more, along with 79 GE T701D engines, sensors, radars, Hellfire and Stinger missiles, rockets and a host of other equipment associated with the helicopters, according to a Nov. 19 announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

“The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces,” according to the DSCA announcement. “Morocco will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and provide close air support to its forces. Morocco will have no difficulty absorbing the Apache aircraft into its armed forces.”

The deal specifically mentions video receivers and “air-air-ground” kits that would allow a portion of Morocco’s fleet to team receive video and targeting data from unmanned aerial systems, known as manned-unmanned teaming level 2. U.S. Army Apaches can team with RQ-7 Shadow drones at level 3, which means Apache co-pilots can also take control of the UAS once in flight.

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The total value of the potential approved sale is $4.25 billion.

“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,” DSCA said.

Prime contractors are aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed Martin. At least 11 U.S. government personnel and three contractor employees will be assigned to Morocco as part of a technical assistance fielding team and as contractor field service representatives.

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