EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon piloted by Maj. Jameel J. Janjua of the Royal Canadian Air Force carries a developmental test version of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) to its release point above the Utah Test and Training Range west of Salk Lake City. When development is complete, the Joint Strike Missile is intended for use aboard the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. Janjua is assigned to the 416th Flight Test Squadron based at Edwards Air Force Base as part of an officer exchange program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Okula/Released)
The United States on Monday approved the sale of 25 F-16 fighter aircraft to Morocco for $3.8 billion, the State Department announced.
Besides the new Block 70/72 F-16s, equipped with state of the art electronic systems and weaponry, Washington also approved the modernization of 23 F-16s already in the Moroccan air force fleet, for $983 million.
The State Department said the sale would not affect the balance of forces in the region.
It can still be blocked by the US Congress, which has 30 days to raise any objections.
More than 4,500 of the Lockheed Martin-built F-16s have been delivered since 1978.
It is gradually being replaced by the stealth F-35 fighters but more than 3,000 of F-16s are still in use in 25 countries, thanks to constant upgrades.
The Moroccan military ordered 24 F-16s in 2008. It lost one aircraft in action in 2015 during Saudi-led air operations in Yemen.