U.S. and Moroccan F-16s train during largest Department of Defense exercise in Africa

U.S. and Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16s have operated together during the annual, bilateral African Lion exercise in Morocco.

Six F-16 Fighter Falcon aircraft belonging to 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem, Germany, along with support assets deployed to Ben Guerir airbase, in Morocco, to participate in joint and combined air training during African Lion 2015, the largest U.S. exercise in Africa.

Taking place between May 15 and 22, the annual exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the training included first-time Royal Moroccan air force in-flight air refueling with U.S. tankers, emergency landing barrier training and joint datalink ops.

RMAF F-16 break

The training activities were carried out few days after a Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16C Block 52+ (serialled #08-8008), taking part in the Saudi-led coalition air campaign in Yemen was shot down by Houthi rebels on May 11.

Tail RMAF F-16

The aircraft, belonging to a contingent of six F-16s deployed to UAE to take part in the air war against ISIS, was involved in one of the very first RMAF missions over Yemen when it was hit by small arms fire. Pilot was killed in the downing.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.