Lithuania and France have finalized a bilateral agreement to procure new self-propelled howitzers in Paris.
The signing followed Lithuania’s foreign military sale announcement in 2022, which ordered 18 Caesar Mark II 155-millimeter howitzers in service with the French Armed forces.
As part of the agreement, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence will allocate up to 150 million euros ($160 million) for the development and acquisition of the weapons.
Work for the program will be carried out by French defense provider Nexter. The howitzers are expected to be shipped to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by 2027.
The wheeled artillery systems will replace the aging 105-millimeter towed howitzers of the Lithuanian Griffin Infantry Brigade’s Brig. Gen. Motiejus Pečiulionis Artillery Battalion.
“As we analyze the course of the war in Ukraine, we recognize the need to enhance the direct fire support capability in the Lithuanian Armed Forces,” Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas stated during the signing.
“Lithuania further provides the continued assistance with military equipment to Ukraine, therefore we are facing the need for replenishment.”
“Precisely for that reason a decision was made to procure the new generation Caesar Mark II artillery systems, versatile and suitable for the various artillery tasks. The decision has been made based on assessments of subject-matter experts.”
During the event, Anušauskas and French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu also discussed security, future bilateral cooperation, support for Ukraine, and the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius.
Anušauskas also expressed gratitude to France for the recent NATO air policing mission in partnership with Poland over Lithuanian territory.
“We appreciate France’s contribution to the security of the Baltic region. Your active role in the NATO eFP and NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states is an example of solidarity and commitment to our region,” the minister said.