WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared Morocco to buy almost 8,500 munitions of various types, with a price tag of just under $1 billion.
The two packages — a package of weapons used on the F-16 for $209 million and a tranche of TOW missiles for $776 million — were announced Thursday on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The weapons will “improve the security of a major Non-NATO ally that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa,” the DSCA wrote in its announcement. “A strong national defense and dedicated military force will assist Morocco to sustain itself in its efforts to maintain stability.”
The TOW request includes 2,401 TOW 2A radio frequency missiles, 28 missiles for testing, and 400 M220A2 TOW Launchers; some of those launchers may be M41 Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) systems. Also included is support equipment, technical support and training. Primary work will be done at Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona, and McKinney, Texas, locations.
Although less costly, the F-16 package is more wide ranging. It includes 5,810 MK82-1 bombs, 300 MK84-4 Bombs, flares, chaff and sustainment parts. It also contains a package of components for weapons, including 105 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) KMU-572F/B Tail Kits, 180 MXU-651B/B Air Foil Groups/GBU-10, 4,125 MXU-650C/B AFGs, GBU-12, 4,305 MAU-169L/B Computer Control Groups for the GBU-10,-12,-16; 5,178 FMU-152 Fuzes.
Notably, DSCA said this sale will help Morocco in the fight against extremist organizations, and specifically “improve interoperability with 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.”
In March, Morocco was cleared to buy 25 new F-16C/D Block 72 fighters.
Primary work for this group of weapons will be done by Raytheon, Orbital ATK, General Dynamics, Kilgore Cheming Groupe, Cheming Groupe, and Kaman Precision Products. Industrial offsets are likely, but will be worked out during negotiations.
Including Thursday’s packages, Morocco has requested an estimated $7.26 billion on American made weapons this fiscal year, easily the most of any nation.
As with all DSCA notifications to Congress, the deal is not final. Members can object to the sale, and once it has cleared the Hill, quantities and costs can change during negotiations.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.