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France to deliver Ukraine with six more CAESAR 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzers

According to the French Ministry of Defense (MoD) on September 30, 2023, France, in collaboration with defense company Nexter, a part of KNDS, will provide Ukraine with six additional CAESAR 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzers. These new additions are set to supplement the existing fleet of 18 CAESARs, previously delivered by the French army, and the 12 units directly acquired by Ukraine from KNDS. In addition to these, Ukraine has also received 19 CAESAR 8x8, which were supplied by Denmark.
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A CAESAR 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzer in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Picture source: Ukraine MoD)

Nexter, in collaboration with a Ukrainian company, has also signed an agreement aimed at ensuring the maintenance in operational condition (MCO) of both CAESAR and AMX-10 RC armored vehicles that were previously supplied to Ukraine. This agreement will establish a comprehensive logistical support system, encompassing replacement spare parts, gun barrels, and other essential components. It aligns with Ukraine's broader strategy to enhance its defense capabilities while reducing dependence on external support.

Since the outbreak of the 2022 Russian invasion, France has been a significant contributor to Ukraine's defense. The support extends across a spectrum of military equipment and assistance. France has provided various defense equipment, including armored vehicles like the AMX-10 RCR, VAB armored personnel carriers, and ACMAT Bastion infantry mobility vehicles. Artillery systems such as the CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, TRF1 155mm towed guns, and 227mm LRU MLRS rocket launchers have also been supplied. Military trucks like the Renault TRM 2000, Renault GBC 180, and Peugeot P4 vehicles have been part of the assistance package.

Beyond hardware, France has delivered anti-tank guided missile systems, including MILAN and FGM-148 Javelin systems, as well as equipment such as MO-120 RT heavy mortars, HPD2A2 anti-tank mines, and Ground Master 200 radars.

Non-lethal military support has been a part of France's contribution, with items like de-mining suits, medical kits, combat rations, helmets, protective gear, bulletproof vests, and uniforms provided. The assistance also encompasses fuel and electro-optical/infrared systems, including night detection binoculars.

France has not only contributed in terms of equipment but has also extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support. This includes access to French satellite imagery and the presence of DGSE agents on the ground. Furthermore, France has committed to training Ukrainian soldiers, offering training programs to thousands of Ukrainian troops.

The CAESAR 6x6 (CAmion Équipé d'un Système d'ARtillerie) is a 6x6 self-propelled howitzer manufactured by Nexter Systems, a French company and a part of the KNDS group. The CAESAR features a 155mm/52 caliber cannon, designed for both strategic and tactical mobility, making it versatile for various operational scenarios. It was first introduced into service with the French Army in 2008.

The 155mm cannon on the CAESAR is known for its extended firing range, capable of launching projectiles ranging from 4.5 to 40 km. It can store up to 18 projectiles and charges in enclosed ammunition boxes. The cannon features a hydraulic elevation system and, in case of hydraulic system failure, manual control is available. The CAESAR can also engage ground targets indirectly with an elevation range from -3° to +10° and a traverse from 21° left to 27° right.

The CAESAR's mobility is facilitated by a Renault dCI 6 diesel engine and manual gearbox, allowing for a maximum road speed of 90 km/h and 50 km/h in off-road conditions. It boasts a cruising range of 600 km and can traverse steep slopes of over 40% and side slopes of 30% while fording waters up to 1.20 m deep without prior preparation.

It can be used autonomously or integrated into artillery command and control systems. The CAESAR's adaptability to different truck chassis, based on customer requirements, provides flexibility in deployment. It has seen service in various regions, including Afghanistan, Mali, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel region, the Middle East, and East Asia. To date, over 300 CAESAR mobile artillery gun systems have been produced, and it has been adopted by several countries, including France, Indonesia, Thailand, and Ukraine.

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Ukraine already received 30 CAESAR 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzers from France (Picture source: Ukraine MoD)

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