Artillery types

Belgium and Lithuania buy French-made Caesar artillery system

The French-made Caesar truck-mounted artillery system, shown during a demonstration at Eurosatory 2022. (Photo: Christina Mackenzie/Breaking Defense)

EUROSATORY 2022: Belgium and Lithuania have both fallen under Caesar’s spell, opting to purchase the French-made 155mm truck-mounted artillery system for their armies, according to official statements released by their respective governments.

The Directorate General for Public Procurement (DGA) formally ordered nine Caesar Mark IIs from defense companies Nexter and Arquus on Monday on behalf of Belgium, which had agreed to buy them in a government-to-government document signed on May 13, 2022 by the Belgian Minister of Defence. Ludivine Dedonder and her French counterpart at the time Florence Parly (since replaced by Sébastien Lecornu).

The Belgian army must receive its Césars by 2027. The 62 million euro ($64.5 million) contract includes everything needed to operate the guns and is another step in strengthening interoperability between the Belgian and French armies .

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Meanwhile, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas on Monday signed a letter of intent with Lecornu to acquire 18 Caesars for his own country and join the development program for the next generation Caesar MkII.

“The war in Ukraine has shown that strengthening indirect fire capability is necessary, which is why providing this capability to the Lithuanian army is vital for us,” Anušauskas said in a statement. He added that “the acquisition of the Caesar Mark II next-generation artillery system in France will be the largest project of the Lithuanian Armed Forces with France in history, which will significantly strengthen the defense capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. “.

The Caesars will go to the artillery battalion of Brigadier General Motiejus Pečiulionis and replace the 105m tower howitzer “which no longer meets the requirements of modern combat mobility and firepower”, the ministry said. Lithuanian Defense in a statement.

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The Caesar MkII will be almost eight tonnes heavier than the current version, tipping the scales at around 25 tonnes (27.56 tonnes) largely because the truck’s cab will be natively armored to Level 2 STANAG instead of protected. by armored kits bolted to the cabin if necessary.

The NATO Level 2 STANAG protects occupants from a 7.62 x 39 mm shell fired at 30 meters, a 6 kg explosive mine under any wheel or truck or under the center, and of a 155 mm explosive fired from 80 m away.

The 6×6 truck being heavier, its 215 HP engine will be replaced by a much more powerful 460 HP engine. It will also have a new automatic gearbox and a new generation chassis.

The MkII will be delivered to France and Belgium from 2025 and to Lithuania from 2027, Olivier Fort, artillery marketing manager at Nexter told Breaking Defense.