Lubor Koudelka, Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic, and Olivier Travert, Vice President of the French state-owned company NEXTER SYSTEMS, signed an addendum to the contract for the supply of a modern CAESAR self-propelled gun on Wednesday, 14 December 2022. By signing the amendment, the army will receive another 10 guns in addition to the 52 already ordered. The value of the amendment amounts to a total of EUR 1.77 billion. CZK including VAT; MoD plans to spend CZK 10.3 billion on all 62 howitzers. CZK with VAT. The howitzers should be delivered to the army by the end of 2026.
The 155 mm NATO standard guns will replace the DANA howitzers that have been in service for more than forty years, which are beyond their technical service life. The DANA howitzers use an incompatible 152 mm caliber with NATO and have only half the range of 20 km against CAESAR howitzers (the CAESAR gun can range up to 40 km).
By concluding the amendment, the Ministry responded not only to the worsened security situation in the world and the need to accelerate modernization projects in this context, but above all to the Army’s request to supplement the number of purchased works to the number ensuring the fulfillment of all its tasks, whether in the defense of the territory of the Czech Republic or in deployment abroad.
“By purchasing these guns, we are taking another step towards the much-needed modernization of our army and reducing the internal debt we still have to the military. I am very glad that by concluding the amendment, we have also managed to reserve capacity for the Czech Republic in production lines that are hopelessly occupied for the coming years due to the war in Ukraine,” said Minister of Defence Jana Černochová on the signing of the agreement.
The unification of the caliber of ammunition used is, according to the Chief of Artillery of the Czech Army, Colonel GST Marcel Křenek, important for joint NATO operations. “A uniform caliber would make it possible to intensify logistical support in the event of a conflict,” Krenek said. According to him, self-propelled howitzers are one of the basic weapon systems of ground troops. “Despite their range, the task of artillery battalions is still to support combined arms units, but the ability to destroy targets in the depth of the opponent’s formation creates an unquestionable tactical advantage,” he added. The correctness of the decision on the choice of the CAESAR gun is confirmed by the course of the conflict in Ukraine.
The signing of the amendment for the purchase of another 10 howitzers took place on the same day when the Government of the Czech Republic took note of the information of the Ministry of Defence on the plan to purchase ammunition for these guns in the general value of CZK 10.17 billion. Deliveries in 2025 – 2029 will be provided by the Czech company STV Group. Securing the supply of ammunition by the Czech manufacturer is an important part of the contract for the supply of works.
The delivery will include five types of missiles in the ammunition of 65,848 shells, powder modules in the number of 283,680 pieces, a spark ignition case in the number of 76,860 pieces and three types of fuzes in the number of 65,848 pieces and 2,708 pieces of inert school ammunition and training cuts in the required configuration.