On December 15, the French and Lithuanian Defense ministers signed a technical arrangement for cooperation in the artillery field, including an order for 18 CAESAR 6X6 Mk. II for the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The Czech Republic ordered 10 additional CAESAR 8X8 to complete the 52 systems ordered in 2021. These contracts bring to 55 the number of CAESAR in all versions ordered in 2022 by 4 Nexter customers. The CAESAR 6X6 Mk. II is a new version of the truck equipped with a 155mm artillery system. The development of this version was ordered in 2021 by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) for the needs of the French Army. It combines a new chassis designed by Arquus, a better protected cabin and the artillery system of the version already in service.
In 2022, the artillery system designed and manufactured by Nexter has gone through several successes: the DGA has ordered 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkI, which will replenish the French Army’s fleet following the transfers to the Ukrainian Army. The Czech Republic has acquired 10 CAESAR 8×8 to complement its 2021 order for 52 systems. Nexter has contracted in 2022 with two new user countries: Belgium and Lithuania have ordered 9 and 18 CAESAR 6X6 MkII respectively. The development of this new version was launched in December 2021 by France. Its entry into service is planned for 2026. For its national configuration, Lithuania will actively participate in the development phase of its 18 systems.
The main improvements of the CAESAR 6X6 Mk. II concern crew protection and mobility. Mobility has been greatly enhanced by a more powerful engine (460 hp compared to 215 hp previously), a new automatic gearbox and a new generation chassis. This chassis is coupled with a STANAG level 2 armoured cabin against ballistic projectiles and mines and IEDs. Finally, the CAESAR MkII benefits from the same strategic mobility as the CAESAR MkI as it is air transportable in an A400 M transport aircraft. The CAESAR Mk. II is equipped with the same 155mm/52 caliber gun as the CAESAR Mk.I, combined with new fire control software. The CAESAR allows a rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute and accurate fire at over 40km. Its reliability and efficiency make it the ideal tool for high-intensity warfare.
The CAESAR (CAmion Équipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie, truck equipped with an artillery system) or [ is a French 155 mm, 52-calibre self-propelled howitzer installed on a 6×6 or 8×8 truck chassis that can fire all 39/52 caliber NATO-standard shells. Equipped with an autonomous weapon network incorporating an inertial navigation system and ballistic computer, the CAESAR can notably accurately strike targets more than 40 kilometres (25 mi) away using ERFB (Extended Range, Full Bore) ammunition with base bleed, or targets over 55 kilometres (34 mi) away using rocket assisted or smart ammunition. The CAESAR platform was developed by French defense contractor GIAT Industries (now known as Nexter) and has been exported to various countries including Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Ukraine.