The U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) confirmed the sale of PATRIOT Air Defense systems and G550 reconnaissance aircraft to Morocco. It is part of Morocco’s comprehensive military modernization plan aimed at creating the largest and best equipped military on the African continent. Morocco reconsidered purchasing Russian Air Defence System S400, fearing the US’ Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which imposes sanctions on countries dealing with Iran, Russia, and North Korea. the Moroccan army lacks any long-range air defense system, unlike neighboring Algeria, which acquired in recent years a very advanced Russian and Chinese missile system.
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. Last year, Morocco purchased 25 F-16 fighters equipped with 5th generation radar (for $2.8 billion) and 24 Apache attack helicopters (for $2.6 billion). There is also a plan for the establishment of a military industry in Morocco. Morocco plans a goal of maintaining air superiority in North Africa. Besides arms imports, Morocco has launched a plan to build its own defense industry platform and has discussed with the US prospects for bilateral projects in this connection.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target” which is a backronym for PATRIOT. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army’s primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system, and replaced the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army’s medium tactical air defense system.
In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given the function of the U.S. Army’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, which is now Patriot’s primary mission. The system is expected to stay fielded until at least 2040. Patriot uses an advanced aerial interceptor missile and high-performance radar systems. Patriot was developed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, which had previously developed the Safeguard ABM system and its component Spartan and hypersonic speed Sprint missiles. Patriot systems have been sold to the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Republic of China (Taiwan), Greece, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Romania.