Morocco begins manufacturing military drones

The Minister in charge of the Moroccan Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, revealed the start of “some activities” related to the defense industries, including the manufacture of military parades, stressing the Kingdom’s efforts to encourage investment in this field, according to a report of a parliamentary committee.

The report on discussing the draft defense budget for the year 2023 quoted the minister as saying, “Some areas of the defense industry that know the beginning of some activities in our country concern the development of the arms and munitions industry, the manufacture of drones capable of carrying out intelligence and reconnaissance tasks, armed attacks, and the maintenance of military aircraft.”

The government official did not give details of these activities, referring only to a project currently being carried out by an international company for the maintenance of military aircraft in the Benslimian region, north of Casablanca.

However, he explained that Morocco seeks to “urge international companies to implement investment projects in Morocco, within the framework of its contractual obligations regarding the deals concluded with them” to purchase weapons and military equipment.

For its part, the local “Ya Bladi” website said that the security cooperation agreement concluded between Morocco and Israel in November last year includes the establishment of military industries in Morocco.

“Cooperation in the field of defense industry and technology transfer” was among the terms of this agreement, which is part of strengthening relations between the two countries, according to what was announced at the time.

Lodiyi stated, according to the parliamentary report, that the kingdom had adopted a law allowing for licensing the establishment of military industries, “to strengthen the gradual independence of our country in this field.”

He added that this “attracted the interest of Moroccan and international investors, for whom explanatory meetings were devoted to laying out the envisaged goals.”

On the other hand, the Moroccan minister indicated that the use of small drones is among the means used in border control and combating irregular migration.

Sporadic media reports since last year indicated that it was also used in the face of the movements of forces from the Polisario Front in the disputed Western Sahara, without any official confirmation from Rabat.

The Israeli-Moroccan security relations have witnessed an open interaction about a year ago, when in November last year, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed security agreements in Rabat with Lodi, outlining the security cooperation between the two countries “in all its forms” in the face of “threats and challenges in the region.”

The concluded agreement allows Morocco to easily acquire high-tech Israeli security equipment, in addition to cooperation in operational planning and research and development.

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