Morocco set for AH-64E Apache Guardian acquisition

The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 36 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters and associated equipment to Morocco.

Approval of the potential sale, worth roughly US$4.25bn, was announced on November 20, in a media release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). In line with this announcement, the DSCA notified the US Congress, which will ultimately decide if it goes ahead. Morocco is set to become the second African operator of the AH-64E Apache Guardian platform, joining Egypt, which has ordered ten of the attack helicopters. Morocco was considering both the AH-64E and the Turkish-made T129 ATAK platform, but hinted at its intention to procure the former in 2018.

AH-64E [Boeing]
An AH-64E Apache Guardian in flight. Boeing 

The DSCA states that the deal includes 24 new-build AH-64Es, with an option of 12 more (totalling 36 aircraft). It also features 79 General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines (72 installed, with six spares), 36 Lockheed Martin AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (M-TAD/PNVS) – also known as the Arrowhead XR (eXtendend Range) – along with 18 AN/APG-78 fire-control radars and 18 AN/APR-48B Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers, among other sensors and equipment. The deal also provides Morocco with a Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) capability, with the inclusion of 21 MUMT-2 video receivers and 39 air-air-ground (AAG) kits respectively. The possible deal will include spare parts, personnel and maintenance training, alongside helmets, simulators and training equipment.

In terms of armaments, the possible FMS also includes 551 AGM-114R Hellfire and 60 AGM-114L Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, 588 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) kits, 200 AIM-92H Stinger missiles, 36 M230E1 and M139 Area Weapon Subsystem (AWS) automatic guns – adding to this is a total of 5,216 2.75in rockets and 93,000 30mm rounds.

In the media release, the DSCA stated: "The proposed sale will improve Morocco's capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces. Morocco will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and provide close air support to its forces. Morocco will have no difficulty absorbing the Apache aircraft into its armed forces."

The DSCA also noted that Boeing and Lockheed Martin will be the prime contractor for producing Morocco's possible AH-64Es, with work taking place in both Mesa, Arizona, and Orlando, Florida, respectively. No offset agreements have been proposed as part of the potential sale.