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Sujet: 4 Gulfstream SIGINT/ISR Mer 17 Jan 2018 - 13:28
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Washington and Riyadh proceed with plans to make Morocco an ISR heavyweight
The new alignment between Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv is poised to take its first concrete steps in Morocco. Financed by Saudi Arabia, the country's air surveillance programme will be provided by the United States using Israeli technology.
According to Intelligence Online's sources, Rabat is poised to finalise the acquisition of four Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) planes from the US. Gulfstream aircraft, probably equipped by Raytheon, seem most likely to be ordered.Bombardier jets, also fitted with US material, are also in the running.
The Israeli firm Elta would also be a subcontractor on the project.A subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elta is expected to integrate offensive equipment on the aircraft which will also be fitted with Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) equipment, to outwit the enemy's anti-air defences. To ensure the deal goes ahead, Washington, which is increasingly supportive of Rabat, is ready to agree to the transfer of state-or-the-art ISR technology which is much more up to date than the technology it shared with Morocco's neighbour Algeria
The technology that the US agreed to supply to Algeria under the contract with Raytheon to convert Beechcraft1900 into spy planes and supply three Gulfstream G550 is considerably older that the technology the US will supply to Algeria's neighbor and rival, Morocco.
Raytheon subcontracted the work to another company, Field Aviation, which has worked little in this area in the past and underestimated how much work the contract involved. Algeria could turn to Italy to procure surveillance aircraft, as Intelligence Online's sister publication Maghreb Confidential revealed recently (MC 1276).
The Algerian army is also interested in the ISR version of Alenia's MC-27 and may place an order for four or five planes.
Gulf help to finance the programme. According to our sources, the bill for the aircraft will not be picked up by Morocco but by Rabat's Gulf allies led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Riyadh is keen to increase its aid to Morocco, which readily agreed to take part in the Arab Coalition's military campaign in Yemen that got underway two years ago.
The Gulf financing will formally be assumed by another alliance recently launched by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Islamic Anti-terrorist Coalition.
Not only is it financing the Moroccan ISR programme, the Arab Anti-terrorism Coalition led by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is also planning to supply border security and other materiel to the armed forces in the G5 Sahel countries (IOL 794). Algeria will therefore soon be surrounded by countries whose border surveillance is financed by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.