Since the beginning of the week, Algiers has been carefully observing the American military exercises African Lion which are taking place in particular on the territories of three neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Algeria is stepping up its own military exercises and ordering two new submarines from Russia.
More than 7 soldiers, with Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese participation, took part in the United States Africa Command (Africom) exercise African Lion, which began on June 20 and will end on July 1. Italy, which continues to draw closer to Algeria, is also taking part in the exercise. Three immediate neighbors of Algeria, then. A far from trivial choice of the American military.
Indeed, even if relations between the United States and Algeria are clearly improving in terms of the economy - several bilateral agreements were signed on June 16 - Washington is not the best ally in terms of Algerian security. . After all, Algeria is not only very close to Russia and China, but also to Venezuela and Iran. The United States, for its part, supports Israel, Morocco, France, Spain… and many other countries of which Algiers is wary.
If African Lion is therefore an opportunity for the Americans to improve their military maneuvers in North Africa and the Mediterranean, Algeria is also pushing its pawns. In a rare outing, General Saïd Chengriha personally supervised the exercises of the Algerian army between June 8 and 13.
Exercises that took place around Tindouf, the neighboring commune of Morocco and Western Sahara. The Algerian army carried out a parade of its tanks, fighter planes and helicopters, and most of the exercises took place in the middle of the night. What put the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) of Morocco on the alert.
Submarines, an advantage for Algeria
But if the military supremacy of the Algerian army and air force in the region is not in doubt, it is above all the rapid rise in power of the Algerian navy that worries some of its neighbors.
Since 2019, Algeria has ordered 6 latest generation submarines in the Mediterranean. The Algerian navy has the advantage of not being engaged in other conflicts abroad, and these submarines are the only completely undetectable submarines in the western Mediterranean. They are, in fact, four Kilo 636 and two Kilo 877EKM, all equipped with Russian Kalibr missiles.
These Algerian submarines therefore make the Algerian navy one of the two navies in the Mediterranean, with the exception of Israel, to be able to avoid the surveillance of other military powers, with an action capacity of 300 kilometers for missiles capable of hitting targets at sea or on land.
Kalibrs imported from Russia can accommodate 450-kilogram warheads and are potentially capable of high-speed evasive maneuvers, even reaching hypersonic speed. A detail which will probably never be revealed by Algiers, but which makes all the difference, while only three countries in the world have hypersonic weapons: Russia, China and the United States.
According to El Español, Algeria has ordered two new Kilo 636 submarines. In figures, the commissioning of two new state-of-the-art submarines by Algeria will position the North African country as the fourth sea power in the Mediterranean. , far ahead of Morocco, Spain and Italy. But if Algiers has hypersonic missiles, its submarines also impose themselves in front of the French navy. What make all the rivals of Algeria nervous, so.