TechEstonia bolsters defense with high-tech French CAESAR howitzers

Estonia bolsters defense with high-tech French CAESAR howitzers

CAESAR, illustration photo
CAESAR, illustration photo
Images source: © Wikipedia

5:08 AM EDT, April 4, 2024

Estonian authorities are gearing up for new acquisitions to boost their army's capabilities, focusing this time on CAESAR howitzers. But what exactly are these weapons?

Estonia, feeling significant concern over Russia's actions, has been investing heavily (relative to its GDP) in supporting Ukraine and modernizing and rearmament of its forces. Recent procurements have included FGM-148 Javelin launchers, Blue Spear anti-ship missiles, and advanced IRIS-T air defense systems. The list of new equipment for Estonian soldiers now also features CAESAR howitzers.

Estonia to acquire French howitzers

In an interview with Postimees, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur confirmed plans to buy 18-wheeled self-propelled CAESAR howitzers, which he views as "the most significant weapon purchase for bolstering the Estonian army." This new equipment will enable establishing a new, dedicated artillery unit.

What is CAESAR?

The CAESAR (Camion Équipé d’un Système d’Artillerie) is a French artillery system developed as a successor to the F3 howitzers. Introduced in 1994 and entering service in 2008, it is now utilized in several countries worldwide.

The specific variant of the French howitzers preferred by Estonia has yet to be disclosed. The standard model is mounted on a six-wheeled Renault Sherpa truck chassis. Still, there is also an export version with an 8x8 Tatra 817 chassis, offering an armored cabin and an automatic loading system, making it more appealing.

The French designed this artillery system with a 155 mm long barrel (52 calibers), enabling a striking distance of up to about 25 miles with standard rounds and about 31 miles with rocket-assisted ones.

The CAESAR howitzer boasts a rapid firing rate of up to 6 rounds per minute and can operate in MRSI mode. The total weight of the 6x6 variant is approximately 39,000 lbs, while the 8x8 chassis version weighs about 66,000 lbs.

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