"US Congress has been notified of the possible sale of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters and 24 Hawker Beechcraft T-6B trainers to Morocco, together valued at up to $2.6 billion.
French officials announced in October than Morocco had rejected its offer of Dassault Rafale fighters and selected the F-16, but the notification by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is the first formal acknowledgement by the US government.
DSCA says Morocco has requested the possible sale of 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft with Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)9 radars and either Pratt & Whitney F100-229 or General Electric F110-129 improved-performance engines.
The $2.4 billion sale would include conformal fuel tanks, either Lockheed AAQ-33 Sniper or Northrop AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods, BAE Systems or Goodrich reconnaissance pods and a choice of self-protection electronic warfare suites. Helmet-mounted cueing systems, Link 16 datalinks and Have Quick secure radios are included."
I was expecting them to go for the compact AESA radar being developed by NG, and also by Raytheon, so their F-16 package could be at the forefront of technology and remain current for a longer time. Maybe both designs would not yet be ready by the time their fighters need to be delivered. Nonetheless, they're fielding a very capable version in the (V)9, which together with the weapons fit and the proven platform could offset perceived superiority of immediate threats.
Likewise, the T-6B is a known quantity and would well complement the Block 50/52s in giving Morocco a cost effective, but credible and formidable defense posture.
Photo Â© Stewart Andrew
[Edited 2007-12-19 11:21:50]