The Lithuanian Army will be receiving new French Caesar self-propelled howitzers under a contract signed on December 29.
Lithuanian defense minister Arvydas Anušauskas signed the contract for a total of 18 systems during his visit to France.
Lithuania expects to invest between 110 and 150 million euros in the acquisition of the systems, which will be delivered by 2027.
“Analyzing the course of the war in Ukraine, we see the need to strengthen the direct fire support of the Lithuanian Army. Lithuania continues its continuous military support to Ukraine with military equipment, which is why we need to rebuild our capabilities as well. That is why it was decided to acquire Caesar Mark II new generation artillery systems, which will be universal and adapted to various artillery tasks. The decision was made after taking into account the military assessments of specialists. The war in Ukraine showed how important artillery is on the battlefield, this capability is vital for the Lithuanian army,” Anušauskas said.
Nexter, the company that will deliver the howitzers, has already started the design and development of the new generation 6×6 wheeled artillery system Caesar Mark II. It will be an improved version of the Caesar system currently used by the French army.
The weapon system will remain unchanged compared to the first-generation howitzers, as it is tested and proven. Caesar Mark II will feature a more powerful engine, an automatic gearbox, a reinforced chassis, bulletproof tires, bottom protection against explosive charges, as well as improved ballistic protection in the cabin.
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. The 6×6 variant can carry 18 rounds onboard.
By placing the order, Lithuania is joining Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark and France as a future operator of the Caesar artillery system.
It is worth noting that Lithuania announced the Caesar contract after purchasing M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States earlier this month.
The country also became the first international operator of the Switchblade 600 tactical drone with a contract signed this month.
In addition to the HIMARS and Switchblade, Lithuania has also beefed up the number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles on order in a spending spree that has largely been spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.