The Moroccan military continues to upgrade its air defense posture, and will now receive Barak MX air defence systems in a deal worth over $500 million from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Barak MX air defence system can be deployed against a variety of airborne threats such as cruise missiles, UAVs, helicopters. The system’s family of radar-guided interceptors have a range of 35 km for the Barak MRAD, 70 km for the Barak LRAD, and 150 km for the Barak ER. They are supported by phased array radars.
Since, Israel normalized relations with Morocco a little over a year ago, the north African country have acquired several defence hardware from Israel worth several tens of millions of dollars, says an end of the year report by IAI.
Likewise, rising tensions with its neighbour Algeria has pushed Rabat to steadily build up its military capabilities.
According to Israel’s Globes publication, Morocco has been interested in acquiring the Barak MX since at least November last year when Israeli Minister of Defence Benny Gantz visited Morocco and signed a memorandum of understanding on defence collaboration with his counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi.
In November it was reported that Morocco had bought Skylock counter-drone systems from Israel’s Skylock Systems to bolster Morocco’s defense capabilities against hostile drones.
Morocco is strengthening the air defence posture of its capital city, Rabat. Recent satellite images shows that Morocco has built an air defense base in Sidi Yahya El- Gharb, which is located northeast of the capital Rabat.
The Barak air defence system will complement others currently being fielded by Morocco including the Chinese and American made systems.
In 2017 and 2021, China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (commonly referred to as NORINCO) delivered 24 Sky Dragon 50 medium-range surface-to-air missiles, the DK-9 short-range air defense system, and a number of long range FD-2000B air defence systems to Morocco.
The FD-2000 is an export version of the Chinese-made HQ-9 advanced long-range air defense missile weapon system designed and manufactured by the Chinese Defense Company CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation).
Morocco also procured the French short-range missile defense system, VL Mica for €200 million (U.S. $226 million) after securing an export loan agreement with French PNB Paribas. The contract was signed in May 2020.
Rabat is also set to receive American-made MIM-104 Patriot air defence system. The US State Department cleared Morocco to buy the Patriot air defence missile systems in January 2020.