The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) has selected Nexter as prime contractor for the development of the CAESAR 6X6 Mark II New Generation (NG) artillery system. According to a Nexter statement, the new system is expected to enter production at the end of a four-year development and qualification phase. In 2024, the company expects a decision whether 109 CAESAR 6×6 Mark II systems will be produced or whether 33 new systems will be produced and 76 existing CAESAR systems retrofitted. In any case, the artillery regiments of the French Army are to have 109 systems with the new scope of performance from 2031 onwards and will be subject to logistic support for a period of two years.
The basis is the CAESAR 6×6 system on a Renault Sherpa chassis introduced into the French Armed Forces in 2000. The export version has a Unimog U 2450 6×6 chassis. Weighing less than 18 tonnes, the system can be deployed in transport aircraft such as the C-130 and A400M. According to Nexter, CAESAR 6×6 systems have been used in operations since 2009 and have collectively fired more than 100,000 rounds.
While the weapon system with the 155mm gun with 52 calibre lengths is to remain unchanged in configuration, crew protection and mobility are to be brought to a new level. Accordingly, Arquus delivers a new chassis with an engine that, at 340 kW, has more than twice as much power as its predecessor. The vehicle will have a new automatic transmission. Nexter will provide a cabin protected against mines, improvised explosive devices and small-calibre ammunition. The cabin is prepared to accommodate the new CONTACT radios as well as BARAGE jammers.
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