Morocco seeking Apaches

Morocco’s armed forces are aiming to acquire Boeing AH- 64 Apache attack helicopters from the United States, with negotiations reportedly already underway.

Since at least 2018, Morocco has been in the market for a new attack helicopter, and apparently considered the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 ATAK, Bell AH-1Z Viper and Boeing AH-64 Apache.

In April 2018 Chief of Staff of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces General Abdelfattah Louarak visited the United States, where he is believed to have been briefed on the Apache. Moroccan sources have reported the AH-64 Apache is the helicopter of choice, and an unknown number will be acquired within the next two years.

The US State Department said it could not comment on potential or pending sales, which have to be approved by US Congress before they can proceed.

At present, the only combat-capable helicopters in Morocco’s inventory are two dozen Aerospatiale SA342L Gazelles, which are flown by Army Aviation and the Royal Moroccan Air Force. The Army also flies several Agusta A109s and Aerospatiale SA313 Alouette IIs, whilst the Air Force flies a dozen Meridionali-Vertol CH- 47C and former US Army Boeing CH-47D Chinooks, two dozen Aerospatiale SA330F Pumas, two dozen Agusta Bell AB205As, a dozen AB206A/B JetRangers, a couple of Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawks and several Agusta Bell AB212s and Aerospatiale AS565MB Panthers.

The majority of helicopters are operated by the Escadre Hélicoptère and L’Ecole de Spécialisation Hélicoptères assigned to 1 Air Base at Rabat- Salé in northern Morocco.

The only other Apache operator in Africa is Egypt, which has 46 AH-46Ds in service with the El Qūwāt El Gawīyä El Maşrīya’s (Egyptian Air Force’s) 550 Attack Heli Brigade split between three squadrons, one at Wadi el Jandali and two at Az Zagaziq, but in November 2018 requested the purchase of ten AH-64Es. Guy Martin