Relations between Tel-Aviv and Rabat have developed exponentially in recent years. Military relations between Morocco and Israel were consolidated with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on security matters in November 2021 during the visit to Rabat of the Israeli Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz. As ties between the two countries have grown closer, the boost in the military sector has been one of the main beneficiaries. While the North African country is making considerable efforts to upgrade its defence system, the support of leading technological powers such as Israel and the United States is providing a major boost. Morocco’s armed forces (FAR) now have a new high-tech artillery system developed by Israel’s Elbit Systems.
Following the acquisition of the French patented CAESAR, the FAR ordered the PULS rocket launchers, according to FAR-Maroc on its official Facebook page. Among the features of this system is the ability to fire a wide range of rockets as well as guided missiles. It is the equivalent of the US HIMARS and provides proven, high-level defensive capabilities. Morocco has in recent years developed its artillery in a significant and accelerated manner, whether ground-to-ground artillery or ground-to-air artillery. Much work has also been done to improve air defence with the arrival of Chinese, French and Israeli systems.
In this context, the Moroccan Artillery has been considering the purchase of new Israeli weaponry for months, and the visit of the commander of the Royal Moroccan Artillery to Israel is part of this dossier, specifically with the weaponry that Morocco urgently needs, such as counter-battery radars and multiple rocket launchers. “It is also an appropriate response to the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the region. It is a way to preserve the balance of forces and strengthen the Kingdom’s place as a regional power and a pole of stability,” added Major General Mohamed Benlouali. It can fire 36 122mm Accular missiles with a range of 35km; 20 160mm Accular missiles with a range of 40km; eight EXTRA missiles with a range of 150km or four Predator Hawk tactical ballistic missiles with a range of 300km.
PULS can fire a variety of munitions types at different ranges up to 300 km, making this artillery system even more versatile. It meets the needs of artillery in modern battlefield scenarios and also provides the continuous availability of massive and effective fire support. Mohamed Benlouali made his first official visit to Israel, where he visited several military sites belonging to the Israeli Army. Defence spokesman Avichai Adraee explained that the general’s visit was “in the context of strengthening cooperation and relations between the Israeli and Moroccan artillery forces”.
This is the second major visit by a senior Moroccan military officer to Israel since Rabat inaugurated on 12 September 2022 a new stage towards strengthening military cooperation with Tel Aviv, through an unprecedented visit to the country by the Inspector General of the Moroccan Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Belkhir El Farouk, who, on 16 and 17 January, chaired a defence meeting with Israeli officials in the capital, Rabat. Morocco and Israel re-established diplomatic relations in December 2020 in the wake of the US-sponsored Abraham Accords, after a 20-year rupture triggered by the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. But family ties have always existed, as more than a million Israelis are of Moroccan origin.