France is said to be negotiating the transfer of 6 to 12 Caesar self-propelled howitzers originally destined for Denmark to Ukraine.
According to French daily Le Monde, France and Denmark have spent a long time negotiating the deal, with the agreement now in a technical discussion phase. The agreement between political leaders of all three involved countries is reportedly in place.
The additional howitzers for Ukraine would come from the 19 Caesar 8×8 howitzers originally ordered by Denmark in 2017 and 2019. It is unclear which side will be financing the transfer.
As reported, the howitzers that are the subject of discussions are still in the process of technical validation, or still have to comply with specifications initially set by the Danish Army. Ukraine is said to be willing to take these systems, and use them “as they are.”
It is worth noting that France has already taken 18 Caesars out of its army’s stocks and sent them to Ukraine. Following their delivery, Ukraine requested to buy another 15 units. The French Army had a total of 76 of the howitzers at its disposal prior to the transfer.
The main difference between the French Army howitzers and those intended for Denmark, is that the Danish systems are more capable, thanks to an 8×8 chassis, instead of a 6×6 one, allowing them to carry twice as many shells. The Danish Caesars can store 36 shells, as well as secondary weapons, electronic countermeasures, and chaffs. They also have better armor.
Caesar measures 12.3 meters in length and is air transportable and fits into A400, IL76 or C17 military transport aircraft.
The system’s 155mm caliber gun can fire rounds at a rate of 6 per minute to ranges of over 40 and over 50 kilometers, depending on whether it is an extended range full bore or a rocket-assisted projectile.
Caesar is one of several Western-built self-propelled howitzers that has reached the Ukrainian Army units since the start of Russia’s invasion in February this year. These include M109 howitzers from the United States, PzH2000 from Germany and the Netherlands, Krab howitzers from Poland, Zuzana 2 from Slovakia, and a range of towed howitzers.