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Morocco Orders Israel to Build a Spy Satellite, France Excluded

Morocco has ordered Israel to build a spy satellite, French newspaper La Tribune wrote on Tuesday. «According to several corroborating sources, Morocco selected an Israeli group at the end of the summer – probably Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) – to provide it with a new observation and reconnaissance satellite, which should replace Mohammed-VI A, launched in 2017 (November 8)», produced by Thales Alenia Space and European manufacturer Airbus, the French daily reported. The two manufacturers also manufactured the Mohammed VI B satellite, launched on November 21, 2018.

The deal on said satellite between Morocco and Israel started in March 2022, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between IAI and the Kingdom. In January 2023, Israeli media revealed that Rabat wants to launch new observation satellites into space. The Kingdom has selected a limited number of international companies, including IAI, to present their bids to The Royal Center for Space Remote Sensing, a national institution responsible for the use, promotion and development of space remote sensing in Morocco.

The IAI Group manufactures cutting-edge systems for cyber security, air, space, maritime, land and homeland security. It had already designed the Ofek spy satellites, a series of Israeli reconnaissance satellites first launched in 1988.

During a trip to Morocco in April 2013, French president François Hollande signed a contract with Airbus Space Systems and Thales Alenia Space for the sale of two Pléiades observation satellites in two phases. A contract which then amounted to more than 500 million euros, launch included. La Tribune argues that «the success of French industrialists in exports depends on the bilateral relations that France and its president maintain with the country which launches a call for tenders. In 2013, relations between François Hollande and King Mohammed VI were good».

Morocco and Israel concluded a military cooperation agreement on October 24, 2021, in Rabat. Since then, Rabat has increased its orders for Israeli arms.

Source : Yabiladi