The French MOD orders 109 CAESAR MkII from Nexter, a company of KNDS

2 February 2024 – The French MOD’s defence procurement and technology agency (DGA) has awarded Nexter, company of KNDS, a contract for 109 CAESAR MkII. The first delivery is scheduled for 2026.

More mobile, better protected, and integrated into the SCORPION combat information system, the CAESAR MkII has been under development since December 2021.

An unprecedented order to strengthen the French artillery

The DGA announced the order for 109 CAESAR 6×6 MkII, a new version currently under development. Thanks to this order planned in the 2024-2030 defence programming law (LPM), the CAESAR 6×6 MkII will first replace the AUF1 self-propelled howitzer at the end of its operational service and gradually phase out the CAESAR 6×6 MkI of the army. The French artillery will thus have an unprecedented capability since the introduction of the CAESAR 6×6 system in 2008. This order also includes support for the CAESAR MkII during their first two years of use. The development of the CAESAR MkII was launched in December 2021, as announced by the French Prime Minister Jean Castex in Roanne.

The DGA and Nexter, a KNDS company, have also signed a framework agreement allowing France to acquire CAESAR and support services on behalf of partner countries.

A completely redesigned chassis

The main improvements of the CAESAR MkII relate to protection mobility, and communication capabilities:

  • The cabin’s protection is enhanced against mines and ballistic projectiles to resist improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and small-caliber ammunition. This requirement was defined during France’s recent operations in Afghanistan and the Sahel region.
  • The mobility of the CAESAR MkII is improved with a new engine (460 HP compared to the previous 215 HP), a new automatic gearbox, and a new chassis provided by Arquus.
  • The CAESAR MkII is equipped with state-of-the-art fire control software, and its cabin is prepared to integrate the future generation of NCT-t radio stations.

The CAESAR MkII is equipped with the artillery system as the proven CAESAR MkI that has demonstrated its reliability and effectiveness in both low and high-intensity warfare.

Photo courtesy KNDS