PICTURE: Morocco awaits arrival of first F-16s

Washington DC
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Morocco is set later this week to receive its first new fighter since 1981 with the arrival of four Lockheed Martin F-16s at Ben Guerrir air base.

Lockheed confirmed on 1 August that Morocco's first four F-16 Block 52s, which are powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines, departed the final assembly centre in Fort Worth, Texas.

 
 © Lockheed Martin

The Royal Moroccan Air Force will receive 20 more F-16s to become the 25th operator of the fighter jet worldwide. Lockheed won the contract in 2008 after the Moroccan government broke off advanced negotiations with France for the Dassault Rafale.

The complete deal for fighters, weapons and other systems was valued by the US government at more than $2.5 billion. That includes 24 F-16s, engines and Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)9 radars. Weapons also wrapped into the deal include the Raytheon AIM-120C7 AMRAAM and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and both laser- and satellite-guided smart bombs.