Lithuania has ordered 18 Caesar Mark II wheeled artillery guns from Nexter, French news outlet La Tribune reported.
A formal announcement is expected shortly, according to the outlet.
The development comes after the Baltic nation signed a letter of intent in June, joining the Mark II development program with France.
The agreement included buying 18 Caesars for 110 to 150 million euros ($117-159.5 million).
To Replace World War II Artillery
The 155mm self-propelled howitzers will replace Lithuania’s World War II-era M101A1 105mm towed guns, donated by the US.
Vilnius transferred some of the artillery pieces to Ukraine in September.
“The acquisition of the French Caesar Mark II new generation artillery systems will be the largest project the Lithuanian Armed Forces has ever had with France,” Lithuanian defense minister Arvydas Anusauskas said at the letter signing.
“The war against Ukraine has made it obvious that indirect fire capability is essential and therefore it is vital for us to provide it for the Lithuanian Armed Forces. We cannot afford to wait until the next war.”
Mark II Program
The French defense procurement agency (DGA) contracted Nexter to develop the new generation Caesar in February, including a four-year development and qualification process followed by production.
Under the contract, the DGA will decide in 2024 to either place an order for 109 new guns or retrofit 76 in-service Caesars and purchase the rest.
The entire lot is expected to be delivered to the French army by 2031.
The new version retains the original design, with additional mobility and crew protection.
The Mark II will have a level 2 mine and ballistic armored cabin capable of resisting improvised explosive devices and small-caliber ammunition.
For mobility, the system is equipped with a more powerful engine (460 HP compared to 215 HP previously), a new automatic gearbox, and a new chassis.
The gun is also equipped with the latest fire control software and can accommodate the new CONTACT radio and the Thales BARAGE jammer.