First steps towards industrial droneization in Morocco

First steps towards industrial droneization in Morocco
First steps towards industrial droneization in Morocco
It has recently become customary to use the term “dronization” in allusion to the enthusiasm of the Royal Armed Forces for drones with which they have massively equipped themselves recently in order to adapt to the evolution of modern warfare. . Now, we can talk about industrial droneization with the announced start of local manufacturing.

Morocco, very keen to forge its own military industry, has its eyes on drones. Israeli technology is in great demand. Israeli manufacturers are already at work, according to media indiscretions from the Jewish state. Quoted by the Spanish media Zona Militar, the CEO of the Israeli company Bluebird Aero Systems, Ronen Nadir, said that his group had already set up the local production plant which will start operations “in the near future”.

In fact, the aforementioned Israeli company knows the Moroccan terrain so well, to the extent that it successfully tested its Spy evidence. On the territory of the Kingdom, this Israeli drone was deployed during an experimental mission which consisted of hitting an out-of-service armored vehicle, Ratel IFV type, belonging to the Royal Armed Forces.

This test resulted in an operational success since the drone reached its target and struck the armored vehicle, causing an explosion.

Designed for reconnaissance and attack missions, this drone has a range of 50 kilometers and can be deployed for an hour and a half. Its range and autonomy provide several operational advantages thanks to its target detection system. This aircraft is also capable of striking its targets at a speed of 250 kilometers per hour.

Morocco attaches great importance to drones with which the Royal Armed Forces have considerably equipped themselves in recent years. The Kingdom has already demonstrated its ambition to develop local manufacturing. This was declared in Parliament, in November 2022, the Minister Delegate to the Head of Government, in charge of the National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, during the discussion of the Defense budget in the House of Representatives. Representatives. He announced that Morocco was going to start manufacturing drones. An approach which is part of the military industrialization of the Kingdom.

What the legal framework provides

Currently, all the conditions are met to begin this industrial adventure knowing that the legal framework was put in place in 2021 with the adoption of Law No. 10-20 relating to defense and security materials and equipment, weapons and to ammunition. A law whose implementing decree has also already been adopted. The text, remember, regulates the manufacture, trade, import, export and transport of military equipment, whether weapons, ammunition or other types of equipment.

Under this law, Morocco grants itself the possibility of granting licenses to arms manufacturers to set up activities on national soil. Through this, the Kingdom wants to develop several types of industry, including arms and ammunition, and the maintenance of military aircraft.

Licensing: Modus operandi

The most important thing is that the legal framework clearly governs the granting of the terms of manufacturing licenses which is the responsibility of a “national commission”. It is its responsibility to study and grant authorizations to embark on industrial projects of a military nature to companies which request them, as, in this case, is the case of Bluebird Aero Systems.

The procedure provides that the interested company must demonstrate the feasibility of its industrial project at the technical, financial and economic levels. Please note that authorized companies obtain a license valid for ten years. It is their responsibility to provide the National Defense Administration with a half-yearly activity report.

On the Israeli side, there is a desire to support the Kingdom in its ambition to become a regional hub for the defense industry. Israel, let us remember, is already committed to this under the agreement relating to military and security cooperation, signed on November 24, 2021, during the visit of the former Israeli Minister of Defense, and current member of the War Cabinet, Benny Gantz, to the Kingdom.

This agreement is global since it includes all aspects of military cooperation. Intelligence, arms contracts, joint training, industrial cooperation, everything is included.

An irreversible process

Morocco is a frequent customer of Israeli manufacturers. Under the military cooperation agreement, signed in 2021, the Kingdom should house part of the production chain for certain drones on its soil.

The signing of this agreement, described as historic both in Morocco and abroad, opened the way to the acceleration of the “dronization of the Royal Air Forces”, very interested in Israeli technology, one of the best in the world in terms of sophistication. Since then, the Kingdom has increased orders from Israeli combat drone manufacturers by purchasing the “Herms 900”, the “IAI Heron” and the “IAI Harop”.

However, Israel is not the exclusive supplier of the FAR which has diversified its partners, including China which delivered to the Kingdom the “Wing Loong II” drones, already in service. For its part, Turkey is gradually becoming an important supplier given its rise in this segment. Ankara sold Morocco its famous “Bayraktar TB2” drones, the effectiveness of which cannot be doubted after their success in the Nagorno-Karabakh war and on the Russo-Ukrainian front.

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