French Defence Ministry Orders 109 CAESAR MkII from KNDS’s Entity Nexter

03.02.2024 Europe
French Defence Ministry Orders 109 CAESAR MkII from KNDS’s Entity Nexter

French Defence Ministry Orders 109 CAESAR MkII from KNDS’s Entity Nexter

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The French Ministry of Defence (MOD) procurement and technology agency (DGA) has awarded Nexter, company of KNDS, a contract for 109 CAESAR MkII.

The CAESAR 6x6 MkII is a new version currently under development. The first delivery is scheduled for 2026;

Thanks to this order planned in the 2024-2030 defence programming law (LPM), the CAESAR 6x6 MkII will first replace the AUF1 self-propelled howitzer at the end of its operational service and gradually phase out the CAESAR 6x6 MkI of the army. The French artillery will thus have an unprecedented capability since the introduction of the CAESAR 6x6 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, France.

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.

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

  • 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.

KNDS (KMW+NEXTER Defense Systems) is the result of the association of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Nexter, two of the leading European manufacturers of military land systems based in Germany and France.

KNDS forms a Group of around 9,000 employees, with a 2022 turnover of 3.2 billion euro, an order backlog of around 11 billion euro and incoming orders of 3.4 billion euro. The range of its products includes main battle tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems, weapons systems, ammunition, military bridges, customer services, battle management systems, training solutions, protection solutions and a wide range of equipment.

The formation of KNDS represents the beginning of consolidation in land defense systems industry in Europe. The strategic alliance between KMW and Nexter enhances both groups’ competitiveness and international positions, as well as their ability to meet the needs of their respective national army. In addition, it offers to its European and NATO customers the opportunity of increased standardization and interoperability for their defense equipment, with a dependable industrial base.

KNDS headquarters are based in Amsterdam.



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