Morocco Receives First Four F-16 Advanced Block 52s
04 Aug 2011
The first four new Lockheed Martin advanced Block 52 F-16s produced for the Royal Moroccan Air Force departed the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 1 for their ferry flight to Morocco. The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) unveiled the first four of 24 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 makes Morocco the 25th country to own and operate the F-16.
Morocco ordered a total of 16 single-seat F-16Cs and eight twin-seat F-16Ds in May 2008. The first F-16C for Morocco made its maiden flight from Fort Worth in October 2010, followed by the first F-16D in November 2010.
Last month, four Royal Moroccan Air Force officers, former F-5 pilots, have concluded 15 months of instruction at the 162nd Fighter Wing, the international F-16 training unit at Tucson International Airport, Arizona. Six additional Moroccan pilots are in the basic F-16 course with graduation planned for September.
The RMAF F-16s will be based at Ben Guerir Air Base, located about 36 miles north of Marrakech.
The purchase is part of a wider modernization of the Royal Moroccan Air Force. The F-16s will replace the ageing F-5 fleet. 27 fighter of the RMAF Mirage F1 fleet are updated by ASTRAC, a joint venture between Thales and Sagem’s SAFRAN. The first upgraded aircraft made its maiden flight on October 19, 2009. Replace the T-34 basic trainers and T-37 jet trainers are 24 Beechcraft T-6C Texan IIs, the first 12 were delivered in May 2011. Four C-27J Spartans were acquired as well to modernize the transport fleet, the first arrived in July 2010.
- Lockheed Martin, First Four Lockheed Martin F-16s Produced For Morocco Depart On Ferry Flight, Press Release 1 August, 2011
- U.S. Air Force, First Moroccan F-16 pilots to complete training in Arizona, News 28 June, 2011, 162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
- Defense Industry Daily, Morocco’s Air Force Reloads, May 22, 2011
- Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin Delivers Morocco’s First Advanced F-16s, Press Release 4 August, 2011