For years, Rabat has been reinforcing its military capabilities in order to meet the security challenges in the region

Morocco receives US battle tanks

AFP/ WILLIAM WEST - Un carro de combate M1A1 Abrams dispara un proyectil durante un ejercicio militar
photo_camera AFP/ WILLIAM WEST - An M1A1 Abrams tank fires a shell during a military exercise

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) have received the first shipment of US M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams battle tanks, which have been transported from California to southern Morocco, as reported by Defense Arabia.

In addition to this first shipment, there is another deal in which Morocco may have taken delivery of 500 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) of an unspecified variant, the report said. Known for their ability to withstand difficult combat conditions, Bradley IFVs are expected to accompany Abrams tanks in various military operations conducted by the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces in various parts of the country.

The Moroccan Armed Forces possessed a total of 656 main battle tanks (MBTs) in 2022. This inventory included 222 M1A1 SA Abrams, 220 M60A1 Patton, 120 M60A3 Patton, 40 T-72B and 54 Type-90-II (MBT-2000). In addition, 200 M48A5 Pattons and 60 T-72Bs were stockpiled.

An Army Recognition report of 14 December 2023 revealed that T-72B main battle tanks (MBTs) that had been modernised by the Czech company Excalibur Army for Morocco were scheduled for delivery to Ukraine. Following negotiations with the United States and the European Union, the Czech Ministry of Defence took the decision to supply Ukraine with the modernised T-72 tanks initially destined for Morocco.

In December 2022, Morocco World News reported that Morocco would receive the latest generation of US M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks. The announcement was made at the FAR Maroc forum with the precise information that the tanks would be modified to meet the specifications requested by Morocco.

PHOTO/ARTUR WIDAK/NurPhoto/NurPhoto v铆a AFP - Soldados estadounidenses del 2潞 Batall贸n, 70潞 Regimiento Blindado, 1陋 Divisi贸n de Infanter铆a entrenan con tanques M1A2 Abrams en Nowa Deba, en Nowa Deba, Polonia, el 12 de abril de 2023
PHOTO/ARTUR WIDAK/NurPhoto/NurPhoto v铆a AFP - US soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armoured Regiment, 1st Infantry Division train with M1A2 Abrams tanks at Nowa Deba in Nowa Deba, Poland, 12 April 2023

Morocco previously purchased 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks in the Special Armor (SA) configuration for more than $1 billion in 2012, followed by another 162 M1A2 SEP v.3 Abrams in 2018 for an estimated cost of $1.259 billion.

The M1A2 Abrams SEPv3, introduced in October 2015, represents a notable advance over its predecessor. Equipped with advanced technology, the tank features improvements in survivability, maintainability, efficiency and network capability. The M1A2 SEPv3's increased lethality is attributed to developmental upgrades and the integration of mature technologies, such as Ammunition DataLink (ADL), improved 120mm ammunition, enhanced forward-looking infrared system (IFLIR) and common low-profile remotely guided weapons system (CROWS). 

PHOTO/FILE - Abrams tank

Armed with a range of armament that includes a 120mm smoothbore gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a low-profile (LP) CROWS armed with a 12.7mm machine gun, the M1A2 SEPv3 can deploy various types of projectiles, enhancing its overall effectiveness against heavily armoured targets.

The tank's upgraded armour package inside the turret and hull copes with a variety of threats, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and Israel-based Rafael's optional Trophy Active Protection System (APS) further enhances its defensive capabilities. 

PHOTO/FILE - The shipment of these M1A2 SEP v.3 battle tanks is part of a wider series of military acquisitions by the Kingdom of Morocco in 2023

Powered by a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine, the M1A2 SEPv3 can reach a top speed of 68 km/h. Technological improvements, such as the Ammunition DataLink (ADL), the under-armour generator power unit and the enhanced forward-looking infrared system (IFLIR), contribute to the overall capabilities of the battle tank, making it a noteworthy asset in a variety of operational conditions.

The shipment of these M1A2 SEP v.3 battle tanks is part of a wider series of military acquisitions by the Kingdom of Morocco in 2023, focused on reinforcing its military capabilities, especially in regions such as the Sahel and the Sahara, where security challenges and problems have been identified. The acquisitions, for ground forces only, include US TOW anti-tank missiles, M142 HIMARS with ATACMS and GLMRS rockets, Israeli Barak MX and MLRS PULS air defence systems. 

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