French army CAESAR self-propelled howitzer participates in Belgian National Day military parade

Since Belgium has become Nexter’s new customer for its CAESAR self-propelled howitzer in the forthcoming NG (New Generation) variant, the organizer of the military parade to take place on Belgium’s National Day (21 July) managed to obtain from the French Army that a CAESAR takes part to the parade, besides EBMR Griffons and VBLs of a Dragons regiment.
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Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
French Army CAESAR during the rehearsal at Quartier Major Housiau, Peutie (Belgium), on July 19 in view of the National Day military parade on July 21 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

On May 13, 2022, Belgian Minister of Defense Ludivine Dedonder signed, with her French counterpart at the time, Florence Parly, an intergovernmental agreement for military motorized capacity, known as "CaMo 2", providing for the purchase of nine "CAESAR infovalued systems NG" (CAmion Equipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie de Nouvelle Génération, Truck equipped with a new generation artillery system), for delivery scheduled from 2027. This contract amounts to €62 million. 10 or 19 additional CAESAR NGs will be ordered, according to Colonel Bernard Phaleg, Head of the Plans and Policy Division within Defense: the Military Programming Law has just been updated by the Defense Commission of Parliament. It takes into account the STAR plan [Security/Service – Technology – Ambition – Resilience], which provides for an envelope of 492 million euros to strengthen artillery capabilities. "It was decided to create a long-range battery on wheels [Wheeled Fire Systems, WFS] in order to provide a minimum of indirect fire support necessary for the brigade and the tactical groups [or 'battlegroups']", specifies in fact this STAR plan

The new artillery howitzer is a modernized version of the French CAESAR currently manufactured by the French company Nexter and delivered to Ukraine. This contract includes Communication and Information Systems (CIS), equipment and software necessary to integrate the artillery howitzer into an interconnected network, tools, documentation, and training material, such as ammunition programming, additional independent hardware, and software to control firing equipment, etc.

The CAESAR NG uses the same 155 mm/52 caliber cannon mounted on the 6x6 truck chassis manufactured by Arquus. The gun has a maximum firing range of 40 km with standard ammunition. In February 2022, Nexter secured a contract to develop the CAESAR NG artillery system for the French Army. The production of the CAESAR NG for the Belgian army will be carried out in parallel with the CAESAR NG produced for the French army to maintain interoperability and cooperation between both armies.

The design of the new 6X6 CAESAR NG will have the same configuration as the previous versions but features new improvements in terms of protection and mobility. The CAESAR NG is motorized with a new powerful engine developing 460 hp instead of 260 hp on the previous version. It will be also equipped with a new automatic transmission and a new chassis produced by the French company Arquus.

The armor of the CAESAR NG truck cabin has been increased to offer more protection against the firing of small arms and blasts of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

The new improvements of the CAESAR NG also include a new firing control software, radio communication system CONTACT as well as a communication jamming system BARAGE produced by the French company Thales.

The Belgian army artillery forces will evolve into a long-range precision indirect fire support battery based on the CAESAR NG 6x6 155mm self-propelled howitzers, and a short-range indirect fire support battery based on current LG1 105 mm towed howitzers also manufactured by Nexter. In addition, the artillery units of the Belgian army will be supported by radar operators, forward observers, and the necessary communication and network systems.

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
CAESAR NG (Picture source: Nexter)