Ground Warfare

Estonia to Receive Initial Delivery of CAESAR Self-Propelled Howitzers in 2024

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Estonia to Receive Initial Delivery of CAESAR Self-Propelled Howitzers in 2024

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Estonia to Receive Initial Delivery of CAESAR Self-Propelled Howitzers in 2024
Estonia to Receive Initial Delivery of CAESAR Self-Propelled Howitzers in 2024

Estonian Land Forces is set to receive the first batch of CAESAR self-propelled howitzers within this year. Estonian Minister of Defence, Hanno Pevkur, confirmed that the initial delivery will comprise six self-propelled howitzers, marking a pivotal step in strengthening the Estonian Defence Forces. This delivery follows Estonia’s procurement contract for a total of 12 self-propelled howitzers, a deal formalized between the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) and the French defence procurement agency (DGA). Manufactured by KNDS France, these advanced artillery systems are renowned for their mobility and precision.

On 19 June 2024, Estonia ordered 12 French-made CAESAR Mk1 howitzers. Six will be delivered in 2024, and another six in 2025. The agreement has an option to buy additional units. According to the ECDI, these howitzers will be integrated into the new artillery battalion of the Estonian Defence Forces, signifying a strategic upgrade in their operational artillery strength. Minister Pevkur’s statement underscored the importance of this delivery, marking the first phase of the contract’s fulfillment with six CAESAR guns slated for arrival this year. The first batch, consisting of six CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, will be delivered to the Estonian Defence Forces this year.

Estonian Centre for Defence Investments signed contracts with the French Defence Procurement Agency for 12 wheeled self-propelled howitzers CAESAR in Paris on June 19, 2024.
Estonian Centre for Defence Investments signed contracts with the French Defence Procurement Agency for 12 wheeled self-propelled howitzers CAESAR in Paris on June 19, 2024. (Photo by KDNS)

The CAESAR (Camion Équipé d’un Système d’Artillerie, Truck equipped with an artillery system) or is a French 155 mm, 52-caliber self-propelled howitzer that can fire 39/52 caliber NATO-standard shells. It is installed on a 6×6 or 8×8 truck chassis. Equipped with an autonomous weapon network incorporating an inertial navigation system and ballistic computer, the CAESAR can accurately strike targets more than 40 kilometres (25 mi) away using “Extended Range, Full Bore” (ERFB) ammunition with base bleed,[3] or targets over 55 kilometres (34 mi) away using rocket-assisted or smart ammunition.

The CAESAR was developed by French defense contractor GIAT Industries (now Nexter Systems) and has been exported to various countries. Units manufactured for the French Army use a 6×6 Renault Sherpa 5 chassis, while some export customers have opted for systems integrated on a 6×6 Unimog U2450L or 8×8 Tatra 817 chassis. In February 2022, the French government awarded Nexter a contract for the development of a new generation CAESAR system. Marketed by the company as the CAESAR Mark II (also commonly referred to as CAESAR NG in France), 109 systems are to be delivered to the French Army between 2026 and 2030.

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