French Army to receive 109 CAESAR MkII howitzers from 2026
The French Army will receive a substantial firepower boost with Nexter contracted to deliver 109 CAESAR MkII self-propelled howitzers from 2026 under an order from the French MOD’s defence procurement and technology agency (DGA).
Nexter was awarded a contract by the DGA for the development of CAESAR 6x6 MkII in February 2022.
The new weapons will join CAESAR MkI vehicles which have been in service since 2008. They will replace the older AUF1 self-propelled howitzer at the end of its operational service and eventually replace older CAESAR systems.
The development of the CAESAR MkII was launched in December 2021 and will see the mobility of the CAESAR MkII improved with a new 460hp engine, compared to the previous 215hp, a new automatic gearbox and a new chassis provided by Arquus.
Additionally, the cabin’s protection will be enhanced against mines and ballistic projectiles to resist improvised explosive devices and small-caliber ammunition, a requirement defined during France’s recent operations in Afghanistan and the Sahel region.
It has also been equipped with a new fire control software and its cabin has been prepared to integrate the future generation of C2 systems. It will keep the same artillery system as the previous iteration.
Franca has already supplied 12 CAESAR SPHs to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion and in January France outlined plans to supply more with a commitment of more munitions, artillery rounds a substantial increase in industrial productivity.
Under plans outlined by French defence minister Sébastien Lecornu, France will supply Ukraine with up to 78 CAESAR systems, seven to be purchased by Ukraine and delivered within weeks, and 12 supplied by France at a cost of €50 million (US$54 million).
Lecornu said a further 60 systems would be supplied through international funding at a cost of €280 million.
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