Turkey reportedly handed over first units of Bayraktar TB2 combat drones to Morocco last week.
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (Far-Maroc) signed an agreement with Turkish drone maker Baykar Savunma for 13 Bayraktar TB2s in April. The contract was worth 626 million Moroccan dirhams ($70 million).
This deal reportedly covers four remote control ground stations, a configurable simulation system for flying the drones, and a digital system for tracking and storing information. A drone operation center will also be set up at a Moroccan airbase.
Deliveries began on September 17, local news sites reported citing Far-Maroc’s military news-specialized online forum.
Canada’s Drone Technology Export Ban to Turkey
Canada suspended export of drone technology to Turkey in early April after it found that some of the Canadian-made systems had been used by the Azerbaijani side in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as in Syria. These drones were delivered to Azerbaijan by its ally Turkey.
It is unclear whether the drones that were allegedly delivered to Morocco were manufactured before the ban, or if Morocco sourced Canadian products directly, forgoing embargo imposed on Turkey.
While the North African country has previously used drones for surveillance purposes, recent developments and agreements show that it might ready the air force to use combat drones in air-to-ground operations.
The Moroccan military already have French Heron drones. They are also buying MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones from the United States.
Morocco and Algeria have long been at odds, particularly over the Western Sahara – a former Spanish colony Morocco sees as an integral part of its territory – but where Algeria has supported the Polisario Front independence movement. A Moroccan drone was operated in April 2021 as part of an airstrike against Polisario Front operatives in the Western Sahara region.
After Morocco normalized ties with Israel, former U.S. President Donald Trump recognized its sovereignty over disputed territory.