Lithuania Signs Deal For 18 CAESAR II Artillery Systems From France

Lithuania has signed a contract to procure the CAESAR Mark II artillery system from France on December 30, 2022. 18 units of the mobile 6×6 truck mounted howitzers will be delivered to the Lithuanian Army by 2027.

The contract follows the signing of a letter of intent for acquiring the systems in June 2022. The contract marks the single largest acquisition project of Lithuania with France.

The contract for CAESAR 6×6 follows the recent $495 million agreement with the U.S. to procure eight HIMARS rocket artillery systems. These acquisitions would greatly bolster the Baltic nation’s artillery capabilities. Lithuania has been rapidly modernising its armed forces in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The CAESAR Mark II is an upgraded version of the CAESAR system currently used by the French Armed Forces. Nexter Systems describes the CAESAR Mark II as follows:

“The new generation CAESAR 6×6 retains the current configuration of the artillery system, which has proven itself in operations (more than 100,000 rounds fired since 2009) and has been a success in export. The main improvements concern crew protection and mobility. To this end, Nexter is adding a level 2 mine and ballistic armoured cabin, resistant to improvised explosive devices and small-calibre ammunition. In addition, the vehicle’s mobility has been completely redesigned by Arquus. The CAESAR 6X6 Mark II is equipped with a new engine (460 HP compared to 215 HP previously), a new automatic gearbox and a new chassis. Finally, the CAESAR 6X6 Mark II carries the latest version of fire control software, and the cab is prepared to accommodate the new CONTACT radio. The Thales BARAGE jammer can also be installed on the CAESAR 6×6 Mark II.”

Nexter was awarded the contract for the development of the CAESAR 6X6 Mark II by the French DGA in February 2022. The contract provides for an initial four-year development and qualification phase, after which production would commence. The DGA will have the choice of either producing 109 new CAESAR Mark II systems or producing 33 new CAESAR Mark II systems and supplement these by retrofitting 76 existing CAESAR systems to Mark II standards. Regardless of the decision slated to be made in 2024, 109 CAESARs 6X6 Mark II are to be delivered to the French army by 2031.