HIMARS launchers or ATACMS missiles, Morocco continues to improve its interoperability with American forces as well as its military arsenal in order to strengthen its national security, ensure regional stability but also fight against terrorism in the Maghreb and Sahel region.
The US State Department recently approved the potential sale of some $750 million in weapons to Morocco, including HIMARS launchers, ATACMS missile systems and Joint Disposal Weapons (JSOW), which analysts say , reflects a natural desire to modernize the Kingdom, but also signals a certain concern about the tensions that reign in the region.
This sale includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, which are high mobility artillery rocket systems used by the US Army and many other armies around the world. HIMARS is a variable-range ballistic missile launch system, ranging from 15 km to over 300 km, depending on the type of missile used.
In addition to the associated equipment, it includes 40 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, with a range of between 70 and 300 km. They feature multiple warheads and can be used against land, sea and air targets and are also used for deep strike operations.
Note that the main contractors for the HIMARS launchers will be Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris Communications, Raytheon, COBHAM Aerospace Connectivity, Oshkosh Defense and others, according to the DSCA.
In a statement to the specialized site Breaking Defense, Kristian Ulrichsen, senior researcher on the Middle East at the Baker Institute of Rice University, explained that ” Moroccan authorities perceive the need to increase their defense and security capabilities in light of the sensitive regional environment and the desire to plan for various types of scenarios, including worst-case scenarios involving a breakdown in relations with neighboring states, even if the probability of this happening is low“.
According to Breaking Defense, this agreement comes as tensions between Morocco and Algeria have intensified in recent years due to the dispute over the Sahara and Algerian support for the Polisario Front.
Additionally, this acquisition will support U.S. foreign policy and national security by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress. in North Africa.
It should be noted that the approval of possible foreign military sales such as these is not final, since prices and unit quantities may change as negotiations progress, and it is always possible that the US Congress opposes it.
HIMARS is a natural evolution of modern artillery. It increases both range and accuracy over traditional cannons, albeit at a much higher cost. Experts like David Des Roches believe that the Moroccan army is one of the most professional in the world and that it is largely organized according to Western principles. It would therefore be surprising if Morocco did not seek to switch to HIMARS at some point.