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Morocco’s Royal Air Force to Purchase 24 Bell-412 EPI Helicopters

Morocco has in recent years been putting more focus on upgrading its military capacity.

28 Nov 2021

Rabat – Morocco’s Royal Air Force is expected to purchase 36 utility helicopters.

Defensa, a Spanish news outlet specialized in military affairs, announced that Morocco is considering the purchase of 24 Bell-412 EPI helicopters with the possibility of adding 12 more at a later date.

“The aging of the fleet of transport helicopters operated by the Moroccan Air Force has reached a catastrophic level, particularly with regard to Bell helicopters. These are obsolete and their availability is insufficient to cover the high operational need. Most of the fleet has been dismantled in the last ten years,” Defensa said.

The 24 new helicopters will replace the Moroccan Air Forces' Bell-205, Bell-206 and Bell-212 helicopters, which are about to be decommissioned.

Between 1969 and 1978, Morocco acquired 48 Bell-205, 24 Bell-206B and 5 Bell-212 helicopters that were manufactured under license in Italy. The country now has less than 12 Bell-205/206/212 helicopters.

Defensa highlighted that “of all the helicopters of Morocco’s Royal Air Force, the Bell-205 and Bell-206, are the most exposed to accidents or emergency landings.”

The latest was in April 2019, when a Bell-205 crashed near the Dakhla area in southern Morocco, killing two crew members.

The Bell-412 EPI is considered the most optimal choice of a helicopter to replace the old ones, as it is an extension of Bell Textron products, which have been operating in Morocco since 1969.

“It is an improved version of the Bell-212, whose modern variant is the Bell-412 EPI, powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6T-9 Twin-Pac engines, providing 15% more power than the standard Bell-412 engine,” said the Spanish media.

Morocco currently has two Bell-412 EPI ASW helicopters that are set to be operated by the Moroccan Navy in the near future.

In recent years, Morocco has been putting more focus on upgrading its military capacity.

Last week, the Pentagon approved a deal between Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest arms manufacturer, and Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces to provide the North African country with the US air defense system.

Morocco intends to upgrade its military infrastructure after acquiring a fleet of 25 new Block 72 as well as the upgrade of 24 Vipers to Block 72.

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