By Ms. Michelle Miller (USASAC)August 22, 2016
Twenty-two M1A1 (situational awareness configuration) Abrams tanks were officially handed over to the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces during a ceremony in Nouaceur, Morocco, July 26.
An additional 200 vehicles will be delivered to the Moroccan Army through the United States' foreign military sales program and will include radios, training ammunition, spare parts, tools and test equipment, personnel training, training aids and simulators.
The refurbished materiel will modernize the Kingdom of Morocco's military and the ability to meet current and future needs.
According to Amy Weichel, chief of the Morocco Program Office for Main Battle Tank Systems at the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, the initial 22 vehicles underwent a complete overhaul and rebuild at Anniston Army Depot, with the exportable turret armor being installed by General Dynamics Land Systems at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. Another 50 vehicles will be produced utilizing this production process.
"In addition, 150 tanks will follow the Abrams Integrated Management Process, a partnership between ANAD and GDLS, where a complete tear down and overhaul/rebuild is performed, resulting in a 'zero hours, zero miles' vehicle," Weichel added.
The refurbished vehicles are being provided through the FMS process known as Excess Defense Articles. EDA allows for our country's allies to receive materiel that the U.S. government no longer uses. Equipment designated under the program can save the U.S. money by eliminating potential storage or disposal costs of materiel and make room for other items to be stored as they are returned from theater. The EDA program provides the potential for the industrial base to support parts, refurbishment and sustainment of the vehicles.
"This tank production supports the U.S. industrial base, providing work to the depots and contractors, and can result in mutual cost savings with economies of scale," Weichel said. "It also adds to the longstanding relationship between the U.S. government and the Kingdom of Morocco, allowing Morocco to modernize its forces."
TACOM's Main Battle Tank Systems New Equipment Training Team, who trains U.S. Soldiers on tank operation and maintenance, will begin training for the Moroccan Army in September.
The Army's security assistance enterprise has worked together on this FMS case since congressional notification in 2012 to provide the equipment to the partner nation, ensuring regional stability and building partner capacity.
"This is a win-win situation for everyone," Scott Huther, U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's division chief for AFRICOM regional operations, said. "We are providing our partner not just with equipment, but a capability, which is what building partner capacity is about."
USASAC's Commander Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, along with Brig. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer for GCS, attended the delivery ceremony. The event marked Farmen's first senior leader engagement with a foreign partner since taking command in June.
"When it comes to the security assistance enterprise working in unison to deliver FMS effectively, this event is a perfect example of trust and teamwork equaling 'Strength in Cooperation,' the USASAC motto," Farmen said.
Bassett welcomed the Kingdom of Morocco into the Abrams family by stressing what it means to have the platform in their arsenal.
"Now that you are part of the Abrams family you have a powerful capability," Bassett said. "That capability is the option of sending a powerful message. If that message is to our enemies the Abrams sends a message of strength. If that message is to our allies, the Abrams sends a message of support."