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Morocco interested in Israel’s Barak 8 missile defense system

Source : Jerusalem Post

Morocco interested in Israel’s Barak 8 missile defense system
Morocco interested in Barak-8 medium range surface to air missile sysem



Israel Aerospace Industries is reportedly in talks to sell Morocco the Barak 8 medium-range surface-to-air missile system. Despite reports that IAI marketing director Sharon Biton led the negotiations, IAI refused to comment, and sources involved told The Jerusalem Post that such a deal had not yet been signed.

Morocco’s defense budget for the coming year has allocated $12.8 billion to modernize its military. Rabat has held negotiations with different suppliers from several countries to buy medium- and long-range air defense systems, including the American Patriot system, China’s North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO)’s Sky Dragon 50 medium-range surface-to-air missiles, France’s short-range VL Milka missile defense system, and others.

The Barak-8 MR-SAM system is able to shoot down enemy aircraft at a range of 50-70 kilometers. It is designed to defend naval vessels against a myriad of short-to-long range airborne threats like incoming missiles, planes, and drones at both low or high altitudes.

It is jointly developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in close collaboration with Israel’s Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI)’s Elta, RAFAEL. Additional companies in both countries are used by Israel’s navy as well as by India’s naval, air and ground forces.The system integrates several advanced state-of-the-art systems including a digital radar, a command and control system, tracking radar launchers, interceptors with advanced homing radio frequency (RF) seekers, data link, and system-wide connectivity. It is also able to engage multiple targets simultaneously in severe saturation scenarios and can be operated in all types of weather.The missiles, which can be fired in single or ripple firing modes from a vertical position, are launched in canister configuration, and the launcher will have eight canisterized missiles in two stacks. 

Morocco has had close economic, diplomatic, and military ties with Israel for years, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in December made his first official visit to the country where he signed defense cooperation deals. In early November, the French-language Le Desk news site reported that Morocco is interested in purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome to defend against aerial threats like mortar shells, rockets, and drones.

In addition, as part of its modernization efforts, Rabat has already received three Israeli Heron reconnaissance drones built by IAI in a deal worth $48 million. France has been operating the Heron under the name Harfang, and according to reports in 2014, the drones acquired by Morocco were retired by the French Air Force after several years in service in Afghanistan.

The Heron 1 is a medium altitude and long-term endurance (MALE) craft with a maximum mission endurance of over 24 hours. The drones have reportedly been fitted with a device for carrying three surveillance cameras, a video recording system, an air-ground communication system as well as electro-optical systems for day-night vision.Equipped with satellite data link and electro-optical infrared sensors, the Heron 1 is able not only to provide reconnaissance to ground forces in combat situations, assist in convoying and patrolling, create movement profiles, and long-term monitoring, but is able to track down explosives from the air.

According to the report in Intelligence Online, the drones will be deployed to counter extremist groups and fight rebel movements in Western Sahara.

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