Morocco in Negotiation with Israel to Purchase Delilah Short-Range Cruise Missile, Submits a Long List of Weapon Systems

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: Morocco has submitted a long list of weapon systems to Israel that it wants to use. According to sources, Morocco is negotiating the purchase of the Delilah short-range cruise missile for its fighter jets. The missile system was developed by the Israeli company Elbit Systems and will be the first of its kind in the Moroccan army’s arsenal.

The proposed deal has not been signed yet. Israel wants to make sure that the technology of this weapon systems will not be leaked in any way to another country.

Israeli sources said that the platform was originally developed as an air decoy and through the years became one of Israel’s most advanced air launched weapon systems. According to foreign media reports, this weapon system has been used in many Israeli air strikes against targets in Lebanon and Syria.

According to the company, Delilah missile – also described as a loitering weapon systems can be launched from fighter aircraft, helicopters, ships and also from the ground. The system has a 250 km range and carries a 30 kg warhead.

Elbit Systems was reluctant to comment on the issue.

Earlier this year, Morocco selected the Rafael SPYDER air defence system for its short range air defence needs.

The SPYDER system is operated by eight countries, including the United Arab Emirates, the first Arab country to do so, as well as the Czech Republic, the first NATO member to deploy the system. The system is also in possession of the armed forces of Georgia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines.

The SPYDER made by Rafael is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. It provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

According to an official release of Rafael there are four variants of the system. The SPYDER-SR and SPYDER-ER 360° provide quick reaction, lock-on-before-launch (LOBL) and lock-on-after launch (LOAL) capabilities, while extending the range of defence to up to a 40 km radius. SPYDER-MR and SPYDER-LR offer medium & long range target interception through vertical launch while pushing the defence envelope up to an 80 km radius.

Rafael says that all the variants enable a 360° launch within seconds of the target being declared hostile ‒ and provide all-weather, multi-launch, and net-centric capabilities. The official release points to the fact that the SPYDER systems have advanced ECCM capabilities and use electro-optical observation payloads as well as wireless data link communication.

The UAE interest in the Israeli system began soon after the signing of the Abraham Accords. The UAE needs an effective system that can protect it from armed UAV’s and drones launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Last month Morocco became one of the first customers for the Israeli advanced loitering weapon systems, the SpyX made by Israeli company BlueBird. The SpyX has a 50Km operational range, 1.5 hours mission time, autonomous electro-optical guided attack, optimal effect-on-target and tight integration with Bluebird’s VTOL ISR UAV family.

According to the company, this ground-breaking technology represents a significant milestone in the evolution of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and brings a new era of precision and efficiency to the battlefield, and in an extremely affordable price.

SpyX, developed by BlueBird Aero Systems, is an expendable electric mini-UAV, designed for loitering & strike missions, to enable tactical teams to organically detect, confirm and hit targets at ranges up to 50Km. To increase its target detection capabilities, the SpyX is integrated with a revolutionary belly-mounted dual-sensor stabilised payload and advanced video tracker, to enable autonomous and accurate electro-optical guided attack on the target. To increase its effectiveness, the 2.5Kg warhead (like combined Anti-Personnel, Anti-vehicles, or Anti-tank warheads) is loaded to the SpyX loitering munition just before launch, as per the required effect-on-target.

“SpyX is a game-changer in the field of military UAV platforms,” says Ronen Nadir, CEO of BlueBird Aero Systems. “We are proud to introduce this advanced system that combines innovative technology with unmatched versatility and cost-effectiveness. SpyX not only enhances situational awareness and enables precision and effective strikes, but also revolutionises tactical battlefield superiority through its tight integration with our VTOL ISR UAS’. It is a testament to our commitment to provide our customers with cutting-edge solutions that meet their evolving needs of tactical military operations.”