US Congress has been notified of the possible sale to Morocco of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters and 24 Hawker Beechcraft T-6B trainers for a combined $2.6 billion.

The notification by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency is the first formal acknowledgement by the US government since French officials announced last October that their offer of the Dassault Rafale had been rejected in favour of the US fighter.

The DSCA says Morocco has requested the purchase of 24 Block 50/52 F-16s with Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)9 radars and either General Electric F110-129 or Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines to replace its air force Dassault Mirage F1s and Northrop F-5Es.

The $2.4 billion sale would also include conformal fuel tanks, Lockheed AAQ-33 Sniper or Northrop AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods, BAE Systems or Goodrich reconnaissance pods, electronic warfare equipment, helmet-mounted cueing systems and Link 16 datalinks.

Lockheed's current F-16 order backlog stands at 116 aircraft, with production planned to continue into 2012.

The proposed $200 million sale of 24 T-6Bs would represent the first order for the improved version of the US Air Force/Navy T-6A Texan II turboprop trainer, which features an integrated glass cockpit supplied by CMC Electronics. The type would replace Morocco's current Cessna T-37 jet trainers.

Dassault is likely to recover from its loss by securing the first export sale of the Rafale in the near future, with Libya reportedly close to concluding a deal under which its air force would acquire 14 of the aircraft.

Source: Flight International