The Czech government gave its green light on September 13 for the procurement of 52 Caesar self-propelled howitzers for the Czech Armed Forces from French company Nexter.
Announcing the news on Monday, the country’s defense minister Lubomir Metnar said the contract for the howitzers would be finalized by the end of September.
The Caesar 8×8 155mm artillery systems will be replacing the Dana 152mm howitzer which been in use with the Czech Armed Forces for over four decades and are approaching the end of their service life.
Caesars will mainly equip the Czech Army’s 13th Artillery Regiment, respectively its 131st and 132nd Artillery Division, which currently have 48 pieces of Dana howitzers.
Compared to its predecessor, the Caesar cannon can fire at a distance of more than 40 km, and will also fire more shots in one minute: 6 compared to 4. The advantage of acquiring a French howitzer will also be the use of 155 mm ammunition standardized within NATO.
The Czech defense ministry said the first four systems would be built in France and the rest in the Czech Republic. Czech group CSG will supply cabs and the chassis for the howitzers, while the overall Czech industry participation in the project will amount to around 40 percent. The contract will have a reported value of close to $400 million.
According to manufacturer’s specifications, the Caesar 8×8 can carry up to 36 complete ammunition sets as well as secondary weapons, electronic countermeasures, and chaffs. Thanks to an automatic shell reloading system, it can fire up to 6 rounds per minute.