Morocco is currently in negotiations with Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems to acquire the Delilah short-range cruise missiles, according to a report by Spanish military news website Defensa.
The North African kingdom is looking to upgrade the capabilities of its fleet of F-5 supersonic light fighter jets with the 250-kilometre range missiles to enhance the accuracy of the air forces’ surgical strikes.
The report added that the F-5s will be equipped with the latest avionics and advanced sensor and jamming systems, in addition to modern air-to-ground and air-to-air armaments.
If the deal goes ahead, it will not only be the first of its kind in Morocco’s arsenal, but also the kingdom’s first missile to be able to operate on land and sea within the aforementioned range.
In February, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) entered into an agreement with Morocco to supply the military with the Barak MX advanced air and missile defence system in a deal worth over $500 million. The deal followed the historic visit to Rabat by Israel’s Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz, in November where a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the field of defence.
Earlier this month Israel’s Defence Ministry released annual defence sales figures for last year which saw a record-breaking $11.3 billion worth of sales. While Europe was the highest regional importer of Israeli defence technology (41 per cent), Arab states that recently normalised ties with Tel Aviv, including Morocco, UAE, Bahrain and Sudan accounted for seven per cent of exports.
Military agreements between Morocco and Israel also come amid rising tensions and a potential arms race between the kingdom and neighbouring Algeria which severed diplomatic relations last year with Rabat, citing “a series of hostile attitudes and trends”.
- News Agencies