The joint Moroccan-American military exercise “African Lion 2024” concluded on Friday at Cap Draa (north of Tan-Tan), showcasing air and ground maneuvers involving the Royal Armed Forces and the US armed forces.

During the exercise, which was observed by the Lieutenant General Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces and Commander of the South Zone, alongside Army General Michael Langley, Commander of the United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM), military units executed significant ground maneuvers supported by F16 aircraft from the Royal Air Force. Artillery support facilitated joint ground operations against simulated enemy forces, which also included the deployment of HIMARS missile launchers and a Puma helicopter for battlefield casualty evacuation.

General Langley emphasized to the press that Exercise African Lion is a pioneering multinational initiative that enhances regional cooperation and partnerships among participating nations. He noted that this year is particularly special as it marks the 20th anniversary of the “African Lion” exercise, which has grown significantly in scope and scale since its inception in 2004.

Colonel Major Fouad Gourani of the Royal Armed Forces highlighted that “African Lion” represents a cornerstone of joint military cooperation between the Royal Armed Forces and the US Army, reflecting the strong and historic relations between Morocco and the United States. He pointed out that the exercise serves as a vital platform for military training and cooperation, marked by mutual trust and commitment.

On a broader scale, Colonel Gourani noted that “African Lion” is the largest military exercise on the African continent, involving over 20 countries aimed at enhancing preparedness to address security and peace challenges.

Lieutenant-Colonel Imad Idrissi, responsible for logistical support during the exercise, stated to MAP that the training underscored the importance of operational planning and logistical coordination, crucial elements for the success of multinational maneuvers. He added that the exercise tested and applied modern approaches and technologies related to interoperability, improving the responsiveness of logistics support units in a joint operational environment.

Staff Sergeant David Rodriguez of the US forces expressed his enthusiasm for participating in the exercise alongside Moroccan counterparts, which also allowed him to learn about the Kingdom. Colonel Mike Weinsman of the US forces noted that the exercise, which began as a small bilateral initiative, has grown into the largest maneuver on the African continent, now involving 27 countries from four continents.

The “African Lion 2024” exercise commenced on May 20 at the Southern Zone Command in Agadir, taking place in several regions across Morocco, including Cap Draa in Tan-Tan, Benguerir, Agadir, Akka, and Tafnit. It involved around 7,000 armed forces members from 20 countries, including the Royal Armed Forces and US forces, with military observers from seven countries: Angola, Gabon, Zambia, Senegal, Cameroon, the United Arab Emirates, and France.

The 20th edition of the exercise featured joint land, sea, and air tactical drills conducted both day and night, a Special Forces Exercise, operations for airborne forces, and a “Task Force” operational planning exercise. It also included academic and counter-weapons-of-mass-destruction training, as well as medical, surgical, and social services provided by a military field hospital to the Akka region’s residents.

“African Lion 2024,” the largest exercise of its kind in Africa, plays a critical role in enhancing operational, technical, and procedural interoperability among participating armies. It remains a key event for military leaders to exchange procedures and experiences, particularly in combined joint training, underscoring the enduring cooperation between the FAR and the US Armed Forces and reflecting the strong historical ties between Morocco and the United States.