On September 30, 2021, Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar signed a contract for the acquisition of 52 CAESAR self-propelled artillery guns in an eight-wheel drive (8×8) version, in the presence of French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly and Nicolas Chamussy, CEO of Nexter Group. With this major order, the Czech Republic becomes the third European customer and the seventh user of the CAESAR in the world. With more than 350 units ordered in France and abroad, the CAESAR is the benchmark in the wheeled artillery systems market.
A consolidating partnership
After the sale of 19 CAESAR 8×8 to Denmark mounted on Tatra Trucks chassis and the supply of 6×6 TITUS armored vehicles to the Czech Army, produced under license with the Czechoslovak Group (CSG), cooperation between Nexter and the Czech defense industry is developing around a large-scale artillery program. In addition to Tatra Trucks, who supplies the chassis, the contract provides for the involvement of several CSG Group companies: Excalibur Army is in charge of assembling the CAESARs intended for the Czech Republic, Tatra Defence Vehicles produces the armored cabin locally, and RETIA integrates the communication resources and equipment linked to the artillery fire control system. The partnership also covers ammunition, mainly with the companies STV and Explosia, to enable local supply of conventional shells and modular charges. Special ammunition such as complex ammunition or ammunition with insensitive explosives will be supplied by Nexter’s ammunition unit.
A modern, proven and robust artillery system
CAESAR is a 155mm (52 caliber) self-propelled gun in service since 2008. This weapon system, designed by Nexter, is the main armament of the French army’s artillery regiments as well as many foreign artilleries that have chosen this robust, high-performance gun. Designed for direct support of troops in contact or support in depth, it has proven its worth in numerous external operations. Its high performance makes Nexter an undisputed reference in the field of land artillery.
By selecting the CAESAR eight-wheel drive (8×8) version, the Czech Ministry of Defense has chosen a system that is perfectly suited to high-intensity combat. On the one hand, this version of the CAESAR carries 36 shells, which gives it a high ammunition autonomy. On the other hand, resupply is carried out at a high rate (three minutes compared with ten for its fully automated competitors). Thanks to its low mass, the CAESAR 8×8 has a lower fuel consumption than heavy tracked howitzers, which is a major advantage in high-intensity combat configurations where the fluidity of logistical supplies is threatened by long-range artillery. Lastly, the CAESAR is recognized for its excellent battery in and out of action performance.
Nicolas Chamussy, CEO of Nexter Group, praises the Czech Republic’s decision to acquire an “innovative, proven artillery system known for its high reliability. Following the TITUS program launched in 2019, this additional acquisition is a testament to the quality of the partnership between Nexter and the Czech defense industry. Thanks to this new success, Nexter is once again contributing to the consolidation of the European defense industrial base”.
Photos courtesy Nexter