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France Accelerates Production of CAESAR Howitzers to Strengthen Ukrainian Artillery Capabilities.

| Defense News Army 2024

In a significant move to support Ukraine amidst its ongoing conflict, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces announced on January 18, 2024, that France is set to deliver six CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzers to Kyiv in the upcoming weeks. This delivery is part of a broader commitment by France, promising to produce an additional 72 Caesar cannons over a little more than a year, all intended for Ukraine. This announcement underscores France's continued support for Ukraine since the conflict's inception in February 2022.
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French CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzer of the Ukrainian army. (Picture source FACEBOOK / Valerii Zaluzhnyi)

To fulfill this ambitious production schedule, Nexter, the French arm of the Franco-German defense group KNDS, has significantly accelerated its manufacturing processes. Traditionally, the production of a CAESAR 155mm self-propelled howitzer took three years, but Nexter has managed to halve this time to just 18 months. Moreover, the production rate has tripled from two to six units per month. This remarkable increase in efficiency is attributed to the mobilization of France's war economy, demonstrating the country's capability and commitment to support Ukraine during these challenging times.

The six howitzers earmarked for immediate delivery were ordered in September through a direct commercial contract between Nexter and the Ukrainian state, funded entirely with Kiev's own resources. The additional 72 units, however, will require collective financing, highlighting the need for international cooperation in support of Ukraine's defense efforts.

France's pledge to produce a total of 78 CAESAR howitzers for Ukraine by early 2025 is a testament to its leading role in the international effort to assist Ukraine. Before this announcement, France had already transferred or sold 30 CAESAR howitzers to Ukraine, contributing significantly to the country's artillery capabilities. Denmark has also supported Ukraine by providing 19 units of CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzers.

The CAESAR howitzer, mounted on a truck, is renowned for its mobility and firepower, capable of firing 155 mm shells up to 40 kilometers. This artillery piece has become a critical asset for Ukrainian forces, offering a significant boost in long-range artillery capabilities.

Ukrainian soldiers have shared their experiences and feedback regarding the French-supplied CAESAR howitzer in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. These state-of-the-art artillery units have been deployed to the Donbas region, where they are used by Ukrainian artillery units to target enemy positions from long distances.

A key advantage of the CAESAR howitzer, as noted by the Ukrainian military, is its high mobility and the ability to hit targets up to 38 kilometers away with the self-propelled 155mm gun. This capability significantly enhances the Ukrainian Army's long-range artillery capabilities, providing them with a strategic advantage in the field.

Defense News January 2024

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