Morocco buys Ukrainian Bukovel AD counter drone system

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) have acquired a counter-drone system named Bukovel-AD, designed by the Ukranian company Proximus.

Morocco buys Ukrainian Bukovel AD drone detection system
Bukovel-AD anti-drone system (Picture source: Morocco World News)

The highly-effective system is known for its ability to early detect unmanned aerial vehicles. The system also blocks data and GPS/GLONASS control channels. “Bukovel-AD’s effective range reaches 10-15 kilometers, which makes it ideal for military or civilian infrastructure facilities protection in combat environment,” according to Proximus. This Ukrainian system involves a ground controller who sends false detection signals to mislead its targets, while having the ability to remotely control hostile drones and neutralize their threat.

Because of the danger these devices represent for the security of the people and the territory, the media asserted that the authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco were on alert against drones that swarm in the airspace, especially as some of them have sophisticated cameras. Indeed, following the appearance of a suspicious drone in the skies of the city of Marrakech, the Royal Gendarmerie launched an alert that raised questions and concerns among the population, according to sources cited by the newspaper, MBS News reports. The owner of the flying machine was arrested, interrogated and then brought before the public prosecutor's office. A few days earlier, the old medina, in Marrakech, was filmed from the sky by the same type of gear, said the same sources. Another drone also flew low over Jemaa el-Fna's emblematic spot filming the activities that animated the area, they added.

Due to the threat to security and public order, the Moroccan authorities have taken measures to control the overflight of all national airspace by the personal drones, said the local Arabic newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, citing safe sources. The proliferation of wild drones has been gaining momentum in recent times, they said.

In June 2019, the inspectorate of the Liaison Offices of the General Staff of the FAR headed by Lieutenant General Abdelfattah Louarak, imported the Bukovel-AD for a value of $50,000, according to LiveJournal. The new acquisition is part of Morocco’s plan to modernize its military equipment.

Morocco established a five-year plan in 2017 to reach “regional supremacy” through modernizing the military equipment of its army, air force, and navy. So far, Morocco has devoted USD 20 billion to the strategic objective. Morocco’s annual defense budget is USD 3.5 billion currently and will reach USD 4 billion in 2022. Morocco’s primary arms suppliers include the US with a 53% share, followed by France with 44%, and Italy with 1.4%.