Morocco Receives First Bayraktar TB2 Drones

Morocco has received the first units of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), according to local news sites. The deliveries began September 17, the media reports said, as confirmed by the Turkish media.

The rest of the units are set to be delivered gradually within the framework of a deal that was said to be signed between Morocco and the Turkish manufacturer Baykar in April.

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) ordered a total of 13 such drones, according to the reports. It was also reported that a number of FAR personnel attended a training program in Turkey in July.

The deal comes during regional tensions and at a time the Maghreb country – heavily dependent on United States armament – has been modernizing its army by striking deals with several countries including France.

The country was already using French Heron drones and is set to introduce both the U.S.’ MQ-9B SeaGuardian and the Bayraktar TB2 UCAV.

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.

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In April, A Moroccan army drone was operated as part of an airstrike against Polisario Front operatives in the Western Sahara region. 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 Algiers has supported the Polisario Front independence movement.

Their rivalry took a new twist last year when former U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory – in exchange for Morocco normalizing ties with Israel.

The Bayraktar TB2 UCAV’s capability in the field has been proven several times both by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the armies of the countries that acquired the drone.

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