France will deliver to Ukraine 8 CAESAR howitzers in 8x8 configuration which were planned for Denmark

According to information published by the French Newspaper "Le Monde" website on October 1, 2022, French is ready to deliver to Ukraine six new CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers in 8x8 configuration that were planned to be delivered to Denmark following an order signed in 2017.
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The new Nexter 155mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer of the Danish Army. (Picture source Danish MoD)

Citing information from the French Newspaper website "Le Monde", the technical discussions are being finalized, the three countries including France, Denmark, and Ukraine are in the final stage to accept the delivery of six CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers in 8x8 configuration. This delivery of new howitzers to Ukraine has been discussed in recent weeks between the President, Emmanuel Macron, his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen.

On April 22, 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron announced military aid to Ukraine including French-made CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers and tens of thousands of shells. On June 16, during a visit to Kyiv, President Macron announced France would provide another 6 CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers in addition to the 12 that had already been delivered.

Alerted by his armed forces staff, Emmanuel Macron no longer wanted to deliver more CAESAR howitzers from the French army's military inventory. In fact, the 18 CAESAR 6x6 self-propelled howitzers already delivered to Ukraine came from the operational military inventory of the French army. According to our sources, before the war in Ukraine the French army had 76 CAESAR howitzers, with the donation to Ukraine, the French army gave up a quarter of its artillery capacity.

The 8x8 variant of the CAESAR is the second generation of 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer in the CAESAR family. Denmark signed a contract with the French company Nexter on 22 May 2017 for the delivery of 15 CAESAR howitzers in 8x8 configuration, which were planned to be delivered in mid-2020 to the Danish armed forces. On October 2019, Denmark signed a new contract with Nexter to acquire 4 additional 8x8 CAESAR howitzers.

If we compare the 8x8 version of the CAESAR, and 6x6 configurations which are already used by the Ukrainian army to fight the Russian army, this latest version offers more mobility, protection, and firepower. In terms of mobility, the Danish CAESAR is based on an 8x8 military truck chassis offering more mobility in all-terrain conditions. The 8x8 howitzer has a combat weight of around 32 tons and can carry up to 36 shells instead of 18 for the CAESAR in a 6x6 configuration.

The 8x8 self-propelled howitzer CAESAR is armed with one 155mm/L52 52 caliber howitzer which is similar to the cannon mounted on the 6x6 version and is fitted with a fully automatic loading system offering a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute.

The 8x8 CAESAR will be also able to fire the next generation of ammunition as the KATANA, new guided artillery ammunition developed by Nexter. With a maximum range between 30 km for the first generation and 60 km for the next, KATANA will strike targets with pinpoint precision. The gun can reach targets up to 42 km with ERFB (Extended Range Full Bore) ammunition and 55 km with VLAP. In addition to firing the standard French Army LU 122 high-explosive base bleed (BB) and Hollow Base (HB) projectile, the CAESAR can also fire the Rheinmetall Denel Munitions Velocity enhanced Long-range Artillery Projectile (VLAP) which achieved a maximum range of 58 km.