Morocco has formally inaugurated its first military base with a Chinese long-range air defense system near the town of Sidi Yahia el Gharb, according to a report by military news site Defensa.
Extending over an area of 420,000 square meters, the military base includes administrative headquarters, repair hangars, and barracks.
The facility features a Chinese FD-2000B air defense system the Moroccan government acquired in mid-2021.
The base also has a Sky Dragon 50 medium-range anti-aircraft system acquired from China in 2017.
About the FD-2000B
An export version of the HQ-9B, the FD-2000B long-range air defense system is designed to intercept airborne and ballistic targets at a range up to 250 kilometers (155 miles).
The system can intercept targets at an altitude of 30 kilometers (18 miles) and has a radar detection range of 280 kilometers (173 miles).
Developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, the FD-2000B operates as part of a multi-layered air defense network Morocco is building using Chinese systems.
According to Defensa, the installation of the FD-2000B is considered a “major step” since the North African nation has relied mostly on air force fighters for air defense.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) conducted a study revealing that Morocco is among the top 40 importers of military equipment in the world, with the US as its main supplier.
Recent military purchases by Morocco include equipment from the US, France, Turkey, and Israel, including the Skylock Dome System from Israel to boost its surveillance capabilities, especially in the country’s southern provinces.
The nation was also reportedly looking to upgrade two of its air bases for the arrival of US F-16 Block 72s that it ordered in 2019.