The 9K720 Iskander hypersonic ballistic missile system and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) are two of the most advanced weapons systems in the arsenal of Algeria and Morocco, respectively. Both countries have invested heavily in modernizing their military capabilities to maintain a strategic advantage in the region. This article will provide an overview and analysis of these two weapons systems and their potential impact on the security dynamics of the North African region.
Tensions between Algeria and Morocco have increased significantly in recent times, mainly due to the intensification of the activities of several guerrilla groups on the triple border between Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara.
Rabat is directly opposed to the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro), a Sahrawi armed group that tries to end the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara and which receives structural support from Algiers.
Algeria’s 9K720 Iskander Hypersonic Ballistic Missile System
Algeria received 4 regiments of Iskander E systems from 2014 to 2017. A missile regiment consists of about fifty vehicles and 48 missiles: 12 launchers, 12 missile carriers and loaders, 11 vehicles of command and personnel, and other vehicles.
The 9K720 Iskander missile system is a hypersonic ballistic missile system developed by Russia. It is designed to engage a variety of targets, including enemy fortifications, air and missile defense systems, and high-value targets such as command and control centers. The system is highly mobile, making it difficult to detect and target. It has a range of up to 500 km and can reach speeds of up to Mach 6. It is equipped with multiple warheads, making it highly lethal and versatile.
The 9K720 Iskander missile system has been in service with the Algerian military since 2018. Its acquisition has significantly enhanced Algeria’s strategic capabilities and deterrence posture. The system provides Algeria with a highly effective means of targeting key strategic and military infrastructure deep inside Morocco. The Iskander’s advanced maneuverability and speed make it difficult to intercept and counter, making it a highly potent weapon system.
Morocco’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a highly mobile, light-weight rocket system developed by the United States. It is designed to provide precision long-range fires support for ground forces. The HIMARS has a range of up to 300 km and can deliver various types of munitions, including high-explosive, cluster, and guided rockets. It can be rapidly deployed and is capable of firing multiple rounds within minutes.
The HIMARS will be in service with the Moroccan military from 2024. Its acquisition has significantly improved Morocco’s long-range strike capabilities, allowing it to target a variety of enemy targets deep inside Algeria. The HIMARS is highly effective against enemy fortifications, armored vehicles, and personnel, making it a potent weapon system in modern warfare.
Both the 9K720 Iskander missile system and the M142 HIMARS are highly advanced and potent weapon systems. However, they differ in several key areas. The Iskander is a hypersonic missile system that provides Algeria with a highly effective means of targeting high-value targets deep inside Morocco. It is highly mobile and difficult to detect and intercept, making it a potent weapon system. On the other hand, the HIMARS is a light-weight rocket system that provides Morocco with precision long-range fire support. It is highly effective against enemy fortifications and personnel, making it an ideal weapon system in modern warfare.
In terms of range, the Iskander has a longer range than the HIMARS, with a range of up to 500 km compared to the HIMARS’ range of 300 km. However, the HIMARS has a higher firing rate, with the capability of firing multiple rounds within minutes, whereas the Iskander has a lower firing rate.
The 9K720 Iskander missile system and the M142 HIMARS are two highly advanced and potent weapons systems that have significantly enhanced the military capabilities of Algeria and Morocco, respectively. The acquisition of these systems has improved the strategic capabilities and deterrence posture of both countries, providing them with effective means of targeting high-value targets deep inside enemy territory. While both systems have their strengths and weaknesses, they are effective weapons in modern warfare. It is essential that both countries prioritize peaceful means of resolving any disputes that may arise and engage in constructive dialogue to promote stability and security in the region. The use of any weapon system, including the Iskander and HIMARS, should always be a last resort.
It is also important to note that the acquisition of advanced weapon systems can lead to an arms race between countries and increase tensions in the region. It is therefore essential that both Algeria and Morocco engage in transparent and responsible practices when it comes to the acquisition and deployment of these systems.
Furthermore, the presence of advanced weapon systems in the region has implications for the broader security dynamics in North Africa. The potential use of these systems in any conflict could have significant humanitarian consequences, including loss of life, damage to infrastructure, and displacement of people. It is, therefore, imperative that regional and international actors work together to promote stability, prevent conflict, and support peaceful solutions to any disputes.
In conclusion, the 9K720 Iskander missile system and the M142 HIMARS are advanced and potent weapon systems that have significantly improved the military capabilities of Algeria and Morocco, respectively. However, the acquisition of these systems should not be a cause for further tension or conflict in the region. It is essential that both countries prioritize peaceful means of resolving disputes and engage in constructive dialogue to promote stability and security in North Africa.