Morocco Requests Newer M109 Howitzers et. al.
The US DSCA has formally announced [PDF] Morocco’s request for 60 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 30 HMMWV engines, 233 wheel assemblies, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $29 million; if no Congressional opposition blocks the proposed sale within 30 days, the parties will be free to finalize a contract and complete the procurement.
There will be a U.S. Government Quality Assurance Team in country for 1 year to check out the equipment. A Technical Assistance Field Team also will participate for 2-week intervals twice annually, to participate in program management and technical reviews.
Morocco currently operates earlier version M109A1B self-propelled howitzers, and will use this new procurement to retire older artillery pieces and modernize its Army’s fire support capability. On the US end, the equipment is considered long supply and is no longer utilized by the U.S. Government. The M109A5 stops short of the full M109A6 ‘Paladin’ upgrade fielded with many US units, but it does feature a number of electronics and mechanical improvements. With Morocco’s neighbor and rival Algeria in the middle of a $7.5 billion Russian arms buy, the country is looking to make judicious purchases that upgrade its own capabilities – French Rafale jets are also rumored to be in the pipeline.