Marrakech Air Show 2018 showcases aviation technology, strong enduring ties with Morocco
By U.S. Air Force Maj. Richard Komurek, U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa
/ Published October 30, 2018
Marrakech, Morocco -- Marrakech Air Show 2018 (MAS18) drew hundreds of civilian and military aviation leaders and thousands of public visitors Oct. 24-27 to showcase leadership in aerospace technologies by the U.S., Morocco and other regional partners.
This year the U.S. participated with several aircraft platforms including a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globemaster II, C-130J Super Hercules, and KC-135R Stratotanker as well as a Navy P-8 Poseidon, Army AH-64 Apache and Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper.
Continued U.S. participation in the Marrakech Air Show, held every two years since 2008, promotes strong ties with Morocco and demonstrates to large audiences that U.S. industry is producing the types of equipment that is critical to current and future military operations.
“Air shows are really an area where we can all come together because we have a common bond,” said Ms. Heidi Grant, Deputy under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs. “We can talk about challenges that our air forces are seeing not only in the region but globally as well.”
“Last year we celebrated 240 years of Moroccan-American friendship,” said Ms. Stephanie Miley, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires. “The air show and all that we do in our military to military cooperation reinforces how important that relationship is.”
For USAFE-AFAFRICA Headquarters, planning and executing air shows across Europe and Africa is a challenging task that involves detailed joint coordination for success.
“My role as the Deputy Air Boss is to take care of the aircraft and the crews … we brought a joint force here with guard, reserve and active duty Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Kemp, USAFE-AFAFRICA Plans and Operations Division.
Air Force participation in airshows goes beyond having USAF aircraft flying in the skies or on static display for industry and public visitors, but also extends to transporting other U.S. military aircraft to enable joint participation. This year a C-17 and crew from the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, transported both an Army AH-64 Apache and Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter from their CONUS locations to Morocco to facilitate Army and Marine Corps participation in the air show, Kemp said.