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Tensions flare as Morocco and Algeria consider new fighter jets

6th January 2022 - 18:48 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Morocco is reportedly pursuing the F-35 in response to Algeria's planned acquisition of the Su-57. (Photo: US Air Force)

A new arms race is brewing in North Africa, as both Morocco and Algeria look to procure the most advanced fighter jets available.

In response to the reports that Algeria intends to purchase 14 Su-57s, Morocco has been making overtures to expand its Air Force and acquire the F-35.

Israeli defence intelligence agency, JaFaj, reported that during a recent visit by Israeli Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz, to Morocco, his Moroccan counterpart requested aid in obtaining the platform.

JaFaj reports Abdellatif Loudiyi, the Moroccan Minister of Defence, asked for Israel’s help in ‘convincing the Biden administration to authorize the sale of F-35 to Morocco and in obtaining more advanced weaponry’.

Tensions in the region have been steadily rising due to conflicting interest in Western Sahara, with Algeria showing support to the Polisario Front.

In 2018, the Algerian Air Force placed an order for 18 Su-35 fighter jets to supplement its existing fleet of Su-30MKA fighters.

However, there have been reports that Algeria plans to scrap the Su-35 acquisition and instead procure the more advanced Su-57, which RT claims entered into service last year.

In 2019, the US approved a possible FMS of 25 F-16V Block 72 aircraft to Morocco for an estimated cost of $3.8 billion.

The nation now fears the F-16V would be outclassed by Algerian Su-57s, which prompted the push for the next-generation F-35.

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