Morocco intends to start manufacturing military drones for intelligence and attack
The Moroccan minister in charge of national defense administration, Abdellatif Loudyi, stated Saturday in a report of a parliamentary meeting that Morocco is trying to develop a local military industry, especially with the manufacturing of intelligence and combat drones.
The Moroccan government wants to develop “certain sectors of the military industry, including weapons and ammunition, as well as the manufacture of drones capable of conducting intelligence operations, surveillance and armed attacks, in addition to the maintenance of military aircraft,” said the minister quoted in the minutes of a parliamentary meeting on the draft budget allocated to defense for 2023.
Abdellatif Loudyi, who did not give more information on the nature of these operations, said that a project to build a maintenance factory for military aircraft has been assigned to a specialized international company in the region of Benslimane (north of Casablanca).
The minister affirmed that a law allowing for the granting of licenses for the growth of military industries has already been adopted by the government in order to “strengthen the independence” of the kingdom in this area.
Moroccan and Israeli media reported in November 2021 a $22 million contract -not officially confirmed- between Rabat and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s leading public aerospace group, for the delivery of “kamikaze drones.”
The news website Yabiladi.com reported that the military cooperation agreement between Morocco and Israel also includes the “launch of two industrial units to manufacture unmanned aircraft.” It cited a Moroccan security source for this information.
As part of a process of normalization between the Jewish state and several Arab nations, supported by the previous administration of the United States under Donald Trump, Israel and Morocco normalized their relations in December 2020.
The normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries – in return for U.S. recognition of Moroccan “sovereignty” over the disputed territory of Western Sahara – has renewed tensions with Algeria, a supporter of the Palestinian cause.
According to Moroccan military experts, Rabat already employs unmanned aircraft for intelligence gathering and border surveillance. Unofficial reports claim that a Moroccan drone strike killed one of the Polisario Front’s leaders, who was leading the Sahrawi independence movement, in April.