Morocco Receives Four F-16C Block 52
Morocco is the latest U.S. partner nation to receive the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a historic event marked by a ceremony here August 4.
The new Block 52 aircraft will supplement the Royal Moroccan Air Force's existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the country's military.
The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) unveiled the first four of 24 Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-16 aircraft in a ceremony today at Ben Guerrir Air Base in Morocco. Senior representatives from the Moroccan and U.S. governments and air forces were present for the historic event.
This is Morocco’s first experience with the F-16 so the package being provided by the U.S. government is comprehensive. Morocco will acquire a Block 52 configuration of the F-16C/D aircraft tailored to meet the specific requirements of the RMAF. The sale includes the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other U.S. and international contractors. The new aircraft will supplement the RMAF’s existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the RMAF.
“The delivery of these aircraft places Morocco among the very elite group of air forces of the world who operate the advanced multirole F-16,” said Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics business area.
The F-16 is the choice of 25 nations. More than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries. The F-16 program has been characterized by unprecedented international cooperation among governments, air forces and aerospace industries. Major upgrades to all F-16 versions are being incorporated to keep the fleet modern and fully supportable over the aircraft’s long service life.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.
In 2007, the Moroccan government started another round of negotiations to purchase a new fighter for its air force. The trigger to this was the fact that neighbour Algeria had purchased another batch of 30 Mig-29SMT and a new order for 28 Su-30MKA.
It seemed for some time that the Dassault Rafale would gain its first export success. An offer was made for 18 Rafales at a cost of 3.3bln USD. The US countered this offer by stating it would deliver up to 36 second-hand F-16s at a cost of only 1.4bln USD. France desperately tried to gain this contract by providing either 12 Rafales and 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft, or 24 Rafales for 2.85bln USD. However, the exchange rate between USD and euro in 2008 is way more in favor of the USD, making the F-16 purchase a real bargain in comparison with the Rafale.
After negotiations with the US government, the Royal Moroccan Air Force was granted to order up to 24 new block 52 F-16s to reinforce the F-5 and Mirage F-1 fighters, at a total program cost of up to 2.4bln USD.
The World Standard
The F-16 soars above all others as the world’s standard. Nations around the world have evaluated the variety of choices available and consistently selected the F-16, the world’s most capable multirole fighter. More than 4,400 F-16s have been produced for 25 countries with 53 follow-on buys by 14 customers – a key indicator of customer satisfaction. These customers have experienced the performance and reliability of the F-16 firsthand and reaffirm the high quality of the aircraft.
Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation - MARRAKECH, Morocco, August 4th, 2011 (www.lockheedmartin.com)
Photo: Utah, AZ and SC ANG help deliver first F-16s to Morocco (www.151arw.ang.af.mil)
Four F-16s head to the Kingdom of Morocco as part of the first ferry of aircraft to be delivered to the country. Morocco recently purchased 24 F-16s (Block 52 Models) from the United States at an estimated cost of $2.1 billion. Airmen from the Utah, Arizona and South Carolina Air National Guard helped deliver the first fighter aircraft to their new overseas location. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Krista DeAngelis.