Morocco Gets The First F-16s
Morocco will be the latest U.S. partner nation to get the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a historic event marked by a ceremony here Aug. 4.
The new Block 52 aircraft will supplement the Royal Moroccan Air Force’s existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute towards the upgrade and modernization of the country’s military.
Senior U.S. military officials attended to mark the event and strengthen the relationship between the two countries’ air forces, which consists of a state partnership program with the Utah Air National Guard that began in 2003.
The relationship between the U.S. and Morocco could be traced back some hundred years when Morocco became the first nation to recognize the U.S. as an independent nation. Senior Moroccan officials, at the same time as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, reiterated the close partnership among the two nations in the course of the ceremony.
“I’m here to salute our partnership which we so extremely value,” Schwartz said. “The friendship in between the U.S. and Moroccan militaries is founded on mutual respect, and I’m thrilled to be here as you accept the first F-16s into your aircraft inventory.”
Officials from U.S. Africa Command and its air component, Air Forces Africa, were also in attendance for the occasion.
“It’s an amazing honor for me to be here for the first delivery of the F-16s to the Royal Moroccan Air Force,” stated Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, the Air Forces Africa commander. “We have a amazing relationship with the RMAF, but being able to fly the exact same airplane will just enhance our opportunity to work together.
“For the United States plus the Moroccans, this is a banner day along with a terrific opportunity to increase both of our capacities and strategic partnership,” she added.
The U.S. is helping to train Morocco’s new F-16 pilots, teaching them not merely how to fly the aircraft, but also ways to teach others, explained Lt. Col. Allen Stewart, an Air National Guard logistics readiness officer from South Carolina.
Stewart worked with the Moroccans throughout pilot training in Tucson, Ariz., and saw firsthand the dedication and commitment of the Moroccan pilots.
“The Moroccans are really professional,” he stated. “They are incredibly positive, well-trained, and eager to obtain the job carried out. They are going to do well.”
Training and delivery of the fighter aircraft took approximately two years as the U.S. and Moroccan air forces worked together, Stewart said.
Woodward also commented on the achievements of the new F-16 pilots, one of whom received the distinguished graduate award at training and “stood out as one of the most beneficial inside the class.”
“These pilots are performing an exceptional job in training,” she said. “I’m truly excited about this progress along with the chance to expand an already powerful military-to-military partnership. Some of these pilots will come back to Morocco and set up a training program to train future pilots within the F-16, and they are going to get the exact same training as our own inside the U.S. Air Force.”
The RMAF pilots chosen for the program have years of encounter in other aircraft and are a few of the air force’s quite greatest, according to Moroccan officials.
Morocco is the 25th nation to get the F-16. Much more than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries, based on a Lockheed Martin press release.