Morocco is in the midst of negotiations with the Israeli manufacturer Elbit Systems for the purchase of cruise missiles for its F-5s which it wishes to upgrade. If the contract is finalized, the kingdom will be able to add missiles to its arsenal with the ability to hit land and sea targets over 250 km away.
These Israeli “Delilah” cruise missiles should be the first of their kind to equip Morocco’s military arsenal and would serve the F-5s it already has.
This contract, which is part of the privileged relations between Morocco and Israel, should allow its Air Force fighters to be upgraded by equipping them with the latest avionics, a AESA fire control radar, digital displays and advanced data link, says the Defensa site.
The F-5s should also be equipped with advanced sensor systems and jamming systems, as well as a set of modern air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons, adds the same source.
For the moment, the negotiations are only at the preliminary stage and the final purchase should only be finalized after an agreement from the Israeli security institutions, which treat the export of advanced technologies with great sensitivity.
According to the Defensa website, these security institutions are very reluctant to sell Israeli defense technology to other countries, fearing that the latter will use it against them.
Except that Morocco is a long-standing partner of Israel and enjoys a privileged relationship with the country because of the historical ties that bind the two states, in particular because the second largest Jewish community in Israel is from Morocco.
It is moreover the Israelis of Moroccan origin who want to further strengthen the ties between the two countries by passing this contract. This contract, which at first glance seems simple since it is only about missiles, is in reality a real test of confidence between the two countries.
Delilah missiles were developed years ago by Israel Military Industries (formerly IMI and now part of Elbit Systems). They make it possible to engage fixed and moving targets with great precision at a distance of more than 250 kilometres.
They feature an advanced electro-optical (E/O) seeker for day, night and all-weather, a cruise speed of Mach 0.5 to 0.7 and a range of 250 km, says Defensa .
Delilah offers pre-programmed mission capability with post-launch upgrades, man-in-the-loop capability for target identification, and final strike approval that enables target identification in real time.
The main feature of these missiles is that unlike a normal cruise missile, which is locked on a pre-programmed target before launch, Delilah’s unique feature is that it can “patrol” and survey an area before a navigator remote only identifies the specific target.