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France Aims to Produce 12 CAESAR Self-Propelled Howitzer Per Month.

| Defense News Army 2024

On April 2, 2024, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, highlighted several key points regarding the military aid provided by France to Ukraine, with one of the most notable aspects being the accelerated production of the CAESAR, a highly sought-after mobile artillery system. It was previously announced that production had increased from 2 to 6 units per month, and now, according to the Defense Minister, production could potentially reach 12 CAESAR units per month soon.
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French minister Lecornu announced the goal to produce 12 CAESAR cannons per month to support Ukraine and all NATO member countries. (Picture source: Nexter)

During a presentation that included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Minister Lecornu announced the goal to produce 12 CAESAR cannons per month to support Ukraine and all NATO member countries. The efficiency and production capacity of the CAESAR cannons were emphasized, with an ambitious goal to significantly reduce production times. Until now, it took 44 months to produce a CAESAR cannon, but with new measures, this period is expected to drop to 18 months. This acceleration is part of an "economy of war" promoted by President Emmanuel Macron, aimed at strengthening support for Ukraine while maintaining France's defense capabilities.

The CAESAR (Camion Équipé d'un Système d'Artillerie) is a mobile artillery system designed and produced by Nexter. Mounted on a truck, it allows for high mobility across various terrains. The CAESAR's main armament is a 155mm/52 caliber gun, capable of firing shells from 4.5 to 40 kilometers, with specialized munitions such as Extended Range Full Bore (ERFB) and Velocity Enhanced Artillery Projectile (VLAP), extending its range up to 42 kilometers.

The Next Generation (NG) version of the CAESAR can also be equipped with a 7.62 mm machine gun for close defense. Regarding protection, the standard CAESAR cab does not offer armor. Still, it can be upgraded to provide level 2 ballistic protection against lightarm fire and level 2 protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The CAESAR is used by several countries worldwide, including France, Indonesia, Thailand, and Ukraine, highlighting its internationally recognized reputation and effectiveness. Weighing less than 18,000 kg, it is relatively light for an artillery system of this caliber. The vehicle can reach up to 90 km/h on roads and 50 km/h off-road, thus offering excellent strategic mobility.

Equipped with modern accessories, the CAESAR includes an inertial navigation system compatible with GPS for land navigation and gun-laying, a muzzle velocity radar, a ballistic computer adaptable to any Fire Control System, and an Auxiliary Power Unit. For maintenance, it is equipped with spare wheels, and a winch, among other accessories, ensuring its autonomy and durability in the field.

The CAESAR can carry 18 shells on board for immediate missions and is designed to be operated by a crew of 3 to 5 soldiers. Its dimensions are 9.94 meters long, 2.55 meters wide, and 3.2 meters high, allowing it to move and position itself effectively in various operational environments.

Moreover, military aid to Ukraine will be removed from the future Military Programming Law, reflecting the desire to treat these efforts as distinct from the usual format of the French armies. This decision will allow for more flexible management of resources allocated to Ukraine, subjecting them to specific budget annuities over which Parliament can deliberate.

This announcement reflects France's deep and ongoing commitment to Ukraine and its allies. The production of CAESARs has only increased recently, and if this increase is verified, France will have multiplied its CAESAR production capacity by six since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. However, in the context of high-intensity warfare, this may not be sufficient.


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