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US approves $239 million sale to Morocco of M88 Hercules armored recovery vehicles

The sale also includes .50 caliber machine gun and smoke grenade loadouts

The U.S. State Department has approved the possible $239 million sale of M88 Hercules armored recovery vehicles to the government of Morocco, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

The potential $239.35 million sale would include 25 M88A2 and/or refurbished M88A1 vehicles along with with an equal number of .50 caliber machine guns, M239 or M250 smoke grenade launchers, 1,800 M76 or L8A1/A3 smoke grenade rounds, 25 SINCGARS radios, AN/PSN-13A GPS receivers (DAGR), and 30 AN/VAS-5B Driver Vision Enhancer kits.

It also allows for a variety of .50 caliber ammunition, including armor piercing, tracer rounds and blanks, as well as additional smoke grenades upon Morocco’s request.

“The proposed sale will improve Morocco’s capability to meet current and future combat vehicle recovery requirements,” the DSCA said.

“Morocco intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces by updating their combat vehicle recovery capability in pace with their armored unit upgrades.”

The main contractor will be BAE Systems, the original producer of the M88.

The DSCA said the sale would further U.S. interests by supporting the security capabilities of major ally Morocco and “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

The armored M88 Hercules, or Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System, is designed to lift or tow stuck or disabled fighting vehicles while under fire.

The original M88, the M88A1, originated in the early 1960s based on the chassis of the M60 Patton tank. The heavier M88A2 was developed in the 1990s in part due to a need to tow the M1 Abrams tank.

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