Morocco Navy plans two acquire two maritime patrol aircraft to increase its anti-submarine warfare capabilities

According to information published by the "Defensa" website on January 7, 2022, to increase the development of its anti-submarine warfare capabilities, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, and electronic intelligence, the Royal Moroccan Navy has launched a program for the acquisition of two multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Leonardo ATR 72 MP twin-turboprop maritime patrol aircraft.  (Picture source Leonardo)

Citing the "Defensa" website, currently, the Royal Moroccan Navy has selected several candidates to supply the two maritime patrol aircraft. The two preferred candidates would be the Italian company, Leonardo, with the ATR 72 MP and Airbus with the C295, but the evaluation process of all potential candidates will continue over the next few months with technical evaluations and financial aspects.

In addition to the European candidates, the offer from the American company Boeing with the P-8 Poseidon will be also evaluated, but this aircraft is very expensive and has a high cost in terms of operational use. The American company Lockheed Martin has also made a proposal with the SC-130J Sea Hercules, but it was rejected.

The Royal Moroccan Navy mission includes the protection of Moroccan territory and sovereignty, as well as the control of Morocco's 81,000-square-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Given Morocco's significant coastline (2,952 km) and strategic position overseeing the Strait of Gibraltar, it (along with Spain and the United Kingdom) is deeply involved in the security of this important international waterway.

According to open sources information, currently, the Royal Moroccan Navy is equipped with 14 British Britten-Norman Defender, and 4 American 350ER Beech King Air maritime patrol aircraft.