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Morocco to upgrade bases for new F-16s

Moroccan F-16's sit on the runway prior to take-off at the 6th Air Base (Ben Guerir) during Exercise ‘African Lion 2021' in June. (US Air Force )

The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) is looking to upgrade two of its airbases as part of its F-16 multirole fighter programme, according to a request for information (RFI) released by the US Air Force on 2 November looking for contractors interested in carrying out the work.

Most of the work will be carried out at the 5th Air Base (Side Slimane), where the winning contractor will design and build an aircraft arresting system and a trim pad as well as design flight simulator and secure storage facilities and assure their construction by another contractor. Trim pads are used to test aircraft engines.

The contractor will also design a secure storage facility at the 6th Air Base (Ben Guerir) and assure its construction.

The RFI did not outline when the work is expected to be completed, leaving it to the contractor to submit an initial project schedule 42 days after it has been awarded the contract.

The RMAF's fleet of 23 F-16C/D fighters are based at Ben Guerir, while Side Slimane is home to its Mirage F1 fighter squadrons.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in March 2019 that Morocco is planning to buy 25 new Lockheed Martin F-16V aircraft and upgrade its existing F-16s to the same standard to eventually field a homogeneous fleet of 48 fighters.

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