Morocco seeking two ex-US C-130H Hercules transports

Morocco has requested the transfer of two C-130H Hercules transport aircraft from the United States under its Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme.

The proposed grant is mentioned in a US House of Representatives report on the Committee on Foreign Affairs Survey of Activities. The report, published on 18 July, states that the notification was dated 11 June 2019.

A State Department official said that the US Government has agreed to the pending transfer of two C-130Hs via the Excess Defense Articles programme, and referred further enquiries to the Government of Morocco to discuss the status of their request.

The Royal Moroccan Air Force already flies the C-130, with over a dozen C-130H transport and KC-130H tanker aircraft in service. These are complemented by four C-27J Spartans, half a dozen CN-235s and several Do 28s.

Morocco has been acquiring a substantial amount of military hardware from the United States in recent, years, with the US being its largest supplier.

Last month Morocco requested a $250.4 million support package from the United States for its F-16 fleet, which would include spares, training and logistics support. This came after Morocco in March requested an additional batch of F-16s from the United States, and upgrades to its existing fleet. On 25 March the US State Department said it had made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.787 billion.

At the same time as the request for 25 new fighters, Morocco requested upgrades to its 23 existing F-16s, which would bring them to F-16V standard at a cost of $985.2 million.

Morocco is believed to seeking to acquire AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from Boeing, with the deal to be concluded within the next two years.

On the landward side, Morocco is acquiring M1 Abrams main battle tanks from the United States. It requested 200 M1A1 tanks in mid-2012, with the first upgraded Abrams arriving in Morocco four years later. According to the US Excess Defense Articles database, in 2017 Morocco had requested 222 Abrams tanks and 162 had been allocated. In November 2018 the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said it had approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of “enhancements” to 162 Abrams tanks for an estimated cost of $1.259 billion.

The Excess Defence Articles database also lists Morocco as having accepted 2 665 M500 shotguns in 2017 and 76 Oshkosh M1070P1 trucks. In 2016 it reports Morocco received vast quantities of excess hardware, including 57 000 M16 assault rifles, 3 700 M240 machineguns, 50 Mk 19 40 mm grenade launchers, 1 828 .50 calibre M2 machineguns, 908 7.62 mm rifles, 17 000 M203 grenade launchers, 4 500 M60 machineguns and 7 000 M249 machineguns.

Vehicle deliveries for 2016 included 400 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 100 M915 trucks, 110 M916 trucks as well as dozens of cargo trailers, fuel carriers, recovery and other vehicles.

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