Belgium signs contract with France to acquire 9 CAESAR NG 155mm 6x6 self-propelled howitzers
On May 13, 2022, Belgian and French defense ministries signed a contract for an amount of €62 million to acquire nine CAESAR NG (New Generation) 155mmm 6x6 self-propelled howitzers. The new artillery howitzer is a modernized version of the French CAESAR manufactured by the French company Nexter.
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Belgium will acquire nine CAESAR NG New Generation 155mm 6x6 self-propelled howitzers produced by the French company Nexter. (Picture source DGMR Belgium MoD)
This contract also includes Communication and Information Systems (CIS), equipment and software necessary to integrate the artillery howitzer into an interconnected network, tools, documentation, and training material, such as ammunition programming, additional independent hardware, and software to control firing equipment, etc.
Then CAESAR NG is an improved variant of the previous version of the CAESAR but uses the same 155 mm/52 caliber cannon mounted at the rear of the truck chassis. The gun has a maximum firing range of 40 km with standard ammunition. In February 2022, French company Nexter secured a contract to develop the CAESAR 6X6 New Generation (NG) artillery system for the French Army. The production of the CAESAR NG for the Belgian army will be carried out in parallel with the CAESAR NG produced for the French army to maintain interoperability and cooperation with the French and Belgian armies.
The design of the new 6X6 CAESAR NG will have the same configuration as the previous versions but features new improvements in terms of protection and mobility. The CAESAR NG is motorized with a new powerful engine developing 460 hp instead of 260 hp on the previous version. It will be also equipped with a new automatic transmission and a new chassis produced by the French company ARQUUS.
The armor of the CAESAR NG truck cabin has been increased to offer more protection against the firing of small arms and blasts of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).
The new improvements of the CAESAR NG also include a new firing control software, radio communication system CONTACT as well as a communication jamming system BARAGE produced by the French company Thales.
The Belgian army artillery forces will evolve into a long-range precision indirect fire support battery based on the CAESAR NG 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzers, and a short-range indirect fire support battery based on current LG1 105 mm towed howitzers also manufactured by Nexter. In addition, the artillery units of the Belgian army will be supported by radar operators, forward observers, and the necessary communication and network systems.