Marrakech International Aerospace Exhibition and Air Show, 4/23 to 4/26, 2014

Location:FRA (Forces Royales Air) Military Base, Marrakech, Morocco
Admission: free, open to the public on April 26th (from 23rd to 25th only open for trade visitors)
Parking: Free
Value: Very Good
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The 4th Marrakech International Aerospace Exhibition and Air Show were held from 23rd to 26th, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, on the military section of the Marrakech Menara airport. The show was organized by the IEC Group under support of the FRA (Forces Royales Air = Royal Air Force Morocco) and other official institutions of Morocco and by the Royal Air Maroc.
After only three previous events, the Marrakesh Air Sow became the top contender meeting place for the civil and military aerospace industry on the African continent. The leading Aircraft Equipment Manufactures alongside a significant number of Business Aviation Services, Commercial Aviation and the Defense Industry participated in the 4th bi-annual Marrakesh Air Show to establish and develop their business relationships on the growing African market The show opened on April 23rd, by th e Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, in the presence of high-ranking government and military delegations alongside the CEOs and employees of the exhibitors and visitors.
The opening ceremony was followed by a parade of a military brass band and fly past of two SA 330F Pumas, each with one flag (the Moroccan flag and the Air Show Logo) under the fuselage. Next came a short flying display with various formations of aircraft from the Royal Air Force of Morocco with only one fly-by (see the list of the flying aircraft). The most interesting formation was when a KC-130H tanker flew by with two Northrop F-5s, docked on the refueling system (this is rarely performed at air shows), and two Mirage F-1Ms and two F-16s beneath. A fire fighting demo was performed by two Canadair CL-415 that used water colored with dye to enhance the visibility. The helicopter demos consisted of a single Agusta Bell 205, and a combined attack demo with four AB-206Bs and four SA. 342L Gazelles. The Moroccan Marche Verte and the Spanish Patrouille Aguila, national teams completed the flying program.
The real show of course was not performed in the air, but it was on the ground: conducting business. Embraer, one of the world’s leading executive jet manufactor, brought a complete fleet to Marrakech, from the Phenom 300, Legacy 500, to the new executive flagship Lieneage 1000. Dassault presented their large cabin and long range Falcon 7X, which is a very successful series. About 200 of this type entered service in the past seven years, and 70 of them in Africa. The French manufacturer LH Aviation showed their first completely in Morocco assembled aircraft, the LH-10M Ellipse. This twin seater light aircraft can be used in a wide range of missions. In general the African continent is a market for small aircraft with multi-role use by Police, Military or other institutions.
For the potential military customers Alenia Aeronautica brought their light gunship the MC-27J with side firing ATK gun installed at the exhibition. This is a very fast Roll On/Roll Off weapon system. ATK stated that 'the MC-27J is not just a gunship, it is a battlefield tested platform equipped with proven mission system'.
Agusta Westland brought their new AW 139M which is in service with the Italian Navy to Marrakech. Agusta Westland has 200 of this type of helicopter on order for various African governments and com-mercial customers. Bechcraft promoted their upgraded version of the T-6, the AT-6 which has the same mission system as the F-16. This aircraft attracted many visitors. The Chinese manufacture CATIC (China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation) had a large stand in the exhibition to promote their range of products. The focus was on the 1:10 scale model of their multi-role UAV 'Wing Loong I' by many military delegations.
The European defense manufacturer MBDA showed models of their proven MICA missiles which can be carry by the Mirage F1, Rafale or Mirage 2000s, Additional their Aster family or the ship borne version of the Excocet MM Block 3 on their stand.
The static display was dominated by all the aircraft types in use by the Royal Air Force of Morocco, the Gendarmerie Royal, and the Moroccan Navy. The only foreign military visitor in the static display area was by the USAF with one C-130J and one KC-135R.
ASR Media LLC would like to express our thanks and sincere appreciation to the Media and Communications organization of the IEC group, and to Amal for the outstanding hospitality and assistance.

Flying Display:

  • (4) F16C, Air Base Ben Guerir (90 km north of Marrakech)
  • (4)F5-E, Air Base Meknes/Bassantine (north of Marocco between Rabat and Fes)
  • (4) F1-M, Air Base Sidi Slimane (northwest of Meknes)
  • (4) Alpha Jet H, Air Base Meknes/Bassantine (north of Marocco between Rabat and Fes)
  • (4) T6-C, Air Base Marrakech-Menara
  • KC130-Hercules formation with (2) F5-E, (2) F1M and (2) F16C
  • (2) Canadair CL-415
  • CAP232 "Marche Verte" Air Base Marrakech-Menara
  • C101 Patrouille Aguila,Spain
  • (2) SA.330F Puma
  • (4) Agusta Bell 206B
  • (4) SA 342L Gazelle
  • (1) Agusta Bell 205

Static: Forces Royales Air Marocco

  • F16C-52+
  • F1-M
  • F5-E/F
  • C130 Hercules
  • C27J-Spartan
  • CN235 Casa
  • CL415-Bombardier
  • Beech King Air 200
  • SA.330F Puma
  • AB 205
  • AB206B
  • SA342L-Gazelle
  • T6-C
  • CAP10
  • Dornier Breguet Alpha Jet H

Gendarmerie Royale

  • T34 Turbotrush/Ependage
  • T660 Turbotrush
  • ULM
  • EC135
  • EC145
  • SA.330C Puma
  • Alouette II

Marine Royale

  • AS565-Panther
Rating: 9 out 10 for the air show part

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Review and photography by Peter Thivessen and Wolfgang Jarisch for ASR MEDIA LLC.
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