France orders 109 CAESAr NG Mk II 155mm self-propelled howitzers

France orders 109 CAESAr NG Mk II 155mm self-propelled howitzers

On February 1, 2024, the DGA (French Army Procurement Agency) made a significant announcement regarding a procurement aimed at enhancing the French Army’s artillery capabilities. The DGA revealed its order for 109 CAESAr NG Mk II 155mm self-propelled howitzers from the French defense company Nexter, with a contract valued at approximately 350 million euros.

The primary aim of this procurement is to provide the French ground forces with an advanced mobile artillery system, enhancing both their firepower and their long-range support capabilities during military operations.

This development is in line with the provisions of the French military programming law for the years 2024-2030, which seeks to maintain France’s position in the field of artillery systems, taking into account the economic constraints imposed by the defense budget.

France is not the only country investing in CAESAr NG systems. Belgium, for instance, took a significant step in this direction on December 10, 2023. Following the advice of the Belgian Defense Minister, the Belgian government approved the acquisition of 19 CAESAr NG 155mm self-propelled howitzers. This acquisition aims to strengthen the artillery capabilities of the Belgian Army, which currently relies on 120mm mortars and towed 105mm cannons. With these additional units, the Belgian armed forces will soon have a total of 28 CAESAr NG systems, consisting of 24 operational units and 4 designated for military training purposes.

Additionally, Lithuania has also joined the group of countries investing in the CAESAr NG. On December 30, 2022, it was reported that Lithuania had placed an order for 18 units of the CAESAr NG, becoming the third country, following France and Belgium, to acquire this advanced artillery system.

The CAESAr NG represents a significant evolution of the previous CAESAr 6×6. While retaining the same 155mm/52 caliber cannon, it now incorporates an upgraded 6×6 truck chassis. This artillery piece can achieve a maximum firing range of up to 40 kilometers when using standard ammunition. In February 2022, Nexter was awarded the contract to develop the enhanced 6X6 CAESAr NG artillery system for the French Army. Importantly, production for both the French and Belgian forces will run concurrently, fostering interoperability between the two nations’ armies.

The upgraded 6X6 CAESAr NG maintains the original layout but introduces substantial improvements in terms of protection and mobility. A key enhancement is the integration of a robust 460 horsepower engine, a significant upgrade from the earlier model’s 260 horsepower engine. Additionally, this variant features a new automatic transmission system and an updated chassis designed by the French company ARQUUS.

The CAESAr NG’s truck cabin now incorporates enhanced armor, providing increased resistance to small arms fire and the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Further notable advancements in the CAESAr NG include sophisticated firing control software, the CONTACT radio communication system, and the BARAGE communication jamming system, developed by the French company Thales. These upgrades collectively enhance the system’s operational effectiveness and safety, establishing its role as a modern artillery platform.


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