The Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN) plans to acquire at least two new anti-submarine and maritime patrol turboprop aircraft to enhance its maritime capabilities.
The new aircraft will help protect Morocco’s interests in the 81,000-square-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Given Morocco’s 2,952 km coastline, and strategic position overseeing the Strait of Gibraltar, along with Spain and the United Kingdom.
Two airframes, Italian Leonardo ATR 72 MPA, and Airbus C-295 MPA are currently being considered by Morocco. Evaluation for both maritime patrol aircraft will be carried out in the next few months.
Besides the two European candidates currently being considered, Boeing is pitching its P-8 Poseidon, while Lockheed Martin is offering its SC-130J Sea Hercules to fill this role. Both American aircraft are believed to have been eliminated from the contest due to cost grounds.
Morocco already operates 14 Britten-Norman Defender acquired from the United Kingdom, and four Beech King Air 350ER aircraft for maritime patrol duties.
Whichever MPA platform Morocco chooses, it will be integrated with the newer MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones acquired for $1 billion from the United States administration led by former President Donald Trump.