Morocco expands its military capabilities and production

The Moroccan kingdom strengthens its military air power with the acquisition of 24 F-16 Viper fighter jets, an important step towards ensuring regional security
Avion F-16 Viper norteamericano - <a href="">Depositphotos</a>
American F-16 Viper aircraft - Depositphotos
  1. Lockheed Martin contract for production of F-16 Vipers
  2. Key features of the F-16 Viper
  3. Morocco's defence investment

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), part of the US Department of Defense, has confirmed the start of production of advanced F-16 Viper fighter jets for Morocco. The event marks a key moment in the North African country's defence strategy as it aims to become more self-reliant and strengthen its military capabilities.  

En esta foto publicada por la Fuerza Aérea de EE. UU., un F-16C Fighting Falcon de la Real Fuerza Aérea de Bahrein, abajo, vuela en formación con un Lancer B-1B de la Fuerza Aérea de EE. UU. sobre el Golfo Pérsico el sábado 30 de octubre de 2021 - PHOTO/ US Air Force/Senior Airman Jerreht Harris vía AP
In this photo released by the U.S. Air Force, a Royal Bahrain Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon, below, flies in formation with a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer over the Persian Gulf, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021 - PHOTO/ US Air Force/Senior Airman Jerreht Harris vía AP

Lockheed Martin contract for production of F-16 Vipers

The acquisition of these advanced fighter jets underscores Morocco's commitment to improving its defence arsenal in an increasingly unpredictable global environment. As reported by the Arab Defence website, Morocco will be the next to follow Taiwan in purchasing technologically advanced F-16V aircraft, known for their superior technical and tactical capabilities. This move places the Moroccan state in an elite group of countries with advanced air combat technology. 

Avion F-16 Viper norteamericano - <a  data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Depositphotos</a>
American F-16 Viper aircraft - Depositphotos

The Lockheed Martin-Morocco contract calls for the production of 90 F-16 Vipers, of which 66 will be delivered to Taiwan and 24 to Morocco. Deliveries are scheduled for 2026, with Rabat receiving the aircraft before Taipei. 

The agreement is part of a series of defence projects between Morocco and the United States that came into force in 2018 and represents a strong strategic partnership. In addition to the F-16 aircraft are the more than 200 missile launchers and more than 600 FGM-148F Javelin conventional missiles that Rabat has acquired in recent months. 

Key features of the F-16 Viper

The F-16 Viper is distinguished by numerous technological advances, establishing it as one of the most sophisticated fighters in its class. The AN/APG-83 AESA radar, developed by Northrop Grumman, provides exceptional resistance to electronic interference.

Avion F-16 Viper norteamericano - <a  data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Depositphotos</a>
American F-16 Viper aircraft - Depositphotos

The F-16 Viper's cockpit has a high-resolution central display that provides real-time data, images and video. This radar, also known as "Smart Scalable Beam Radar", is based on the radars used on the F-35 and F-22 and offers unprecedented performance. 

With the fighter's new enhanced mission computer and its Joint Helmet-Mounted Signalling System (JHMCS), pilots can target and display information with greater accuracy and efficiency, significantly improving combat performance. 

The F-16 Viper is also equipped with the AN/ALQ-33 Sniper targeting module, which enhances strike accuracy and navigation capabilities. Capable of carrying a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, this fighter is ready to meet the challenges of the modern battlefield. In addition, its comprehensive electronic warfare suite includes advanced detection and jamming systems, along with decoy launchers for active and passive defence. 

Avion F-16 Viper norteamericano - <a  data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Depositphotos</a>
American F-16 Viper aircraft - Depositphotos

Morocco's defence investment

Over the past five years, the Alawi country has significantly increased its defence budget and investment in military hardware and equipment. With an increase of about 78% since 2018, Morocco has invested millions of dollars in defence deals with the United States as part of a broader strategy to modernise its military capabilities. This shows that the country is prioritising security in the Mediterranean and Western Sahara, where it has strategic and commercial interests. 

Increases in the defence budget are likely to be the result of military modernisation, investments in technology and equipment, and national security priorities. Morocco's defence budget has increased from 34.4 billion dirhams in 2018 to 61.8 billion dirhams in 2024. The country is working to strengthen its military and improve its ability to respond to regional and global challenges. 

African Lion
African Lion

By strengthening its defence ties with the US, Morocco seeks to consolidate its position as a key player in the region, while also contributing to global peace and security efforts. Through these agreements, it has acquired advanced military equipment and technology, enabling it to improve its military capabilities and respond more effectively to emerging threats. 

The country has increased its participation in international peacekeeping missions and humanitarian operations, demonstrating its commitment to promoting regional and global stability. Therefore, the upcoming delivery of the F-16 Viper will undoubtedly be a major breakthrough for the Moroccan Air Force (FAR). Equipped with advanced technology and impressive performance, these fighters will significantly enhance national defence capabilities.