Home World Russia captures French Caesar self-propelled guns

Russia captures French Caesar self-propelled guns

Ukraine lacks recovery vehicles

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Caesar self-propelled gun
Caesar self-propelled gun. Image: French MoD

Russian troops have already captured two Caesar self-propelled guns recently delivered from France in Ukraine, said the French lawyer and politician Régis de Castelnau.

The Caesar self-propelled gun is a 155 mm artillery mount made in France and is designed to destroy artillery batteries, fortifications and other enemy equipment. The gun has been in service with the French army since 2007. The range of the Caesar self-propelled guns is up to 42 kilometres, and the rate of fire is six rounds per minute.

Castelnau said the artillery mounts are in excellent condition and have already been sent to Uralvagonzavod, where Russian gunsmiths are studying them.

“Another achievement of Macron: Russians have French weapons, not Ukrainians,” the politician is indignant on social networks.

De Castelnau said that the French paid for the supply of heavy equipment to the Ukrainian armed formations. French taxes, it turns out, fund Russian research into the military industry, making the Russian Armed Forces even stronger.

Uralvagonzavod Confirms

The Russian concern Uralvagonzavod actually confirmed the receipt of the guns by a reply post in the comments on the TG channel of the French politician Régis Castelnau. Uralvagonzavod wrote, “Good afternoon, Mr Regis. We ask you to convey our gratitude to President Macron for the donated self-propelled guns. Technique is the same, of course. Not like our Msta-S. But nevertheless, it is useful in the economy. Send more – we’ll figure it out.”

French MoD unsure

The French military refuted the information of the capture of the CAESAR self-propelled guns by the Russians, although they did not provide any evidence of this. According to a spokesman for the French General Staff, Uralvagonzavod’s report that howitzers are at the plant is “unlikely.”

“There is no evidence to support this information, which seems to us very unlikely and even implausible,” said the statement.

CEASAR for Ukraine

In April, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that CAESAR self-propelled guns would be sent to Ukraine as part of military assistance. CAESARs were noticed in Ukraine in May when a telegram channel bmpd posted a video demonstrating the use of self-propelled howitzers. The French guns were in service with the 55th artillery brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), operating in the Zaporizhzhia direction, said the channel. The Ukrainian personnel were trained in France.

At a briefing held on May 30 in Kyiv, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said France would soon send Ukraine a new batch of Caesar self-propelled howitzers and assured that the howitzers would be delivered in the coming weeks.

In June, before the trip to Kyiv, the President of France asked the arms company to expand the production of self-propelled artillery guns “Caesar” and produce them faster. This decision followed after the French leadership undertook to send six more Ceasar systems to the Ukrainian army.

“Beyond the 12 Caesars already delivered, I made the decision to deliver six additional Caesars.” Emmanuel Macron said during his visit to Kyiv.

CAESAR self-propelled howitzer

The prototype of the CAESAR self-propelled howitzer was demonstrated in 1994, and in 2002 the French military received the first self-propelled guns. Units for the armed forces of France received the guns on a Renault Sherpa 10 truck chassis with an armoured cab. The self-propelled gun is equipped with a 155 mm TR F1 gun with a SIGMA 30 fire control system.

Produced in Bourges (Cher) by the French industrial group Nexter, the gun is composed of a total of 500 parts, with a weight of 18 tons. While other guns are mounted on tanks, such as the Dutch howitzer Panzerhaubitze 2000, the Caesar being based on an armoured truck offers the troops great mobility on the ground.

The French cannon costs about 5 million euros and is a commercial success as it is exported to many countries. Nexter has notably concluded contracts with the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, Morocco, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The latter is also accused by NGOs of having used it against civilians in Yemen. Lithuania also signed a letter of intent to acquire 18 Caesar guns on the sidelines of the Eurosatory exhibition near Paris.

In February, the then Prime Minister, Jean Castex, signed a 600 million euro contract with Nexter to develop an armoured and modernized version of its gun, the “Caesar NG”, and acquire 33 units, deliverable from 2026. These are to replace guns still in service, which date from the early 1980s. 

At the start of the conflict, the French army had 76 Caesars. The 18 guns sent to Ukraine were taken from these reserves, explains the Ministry of the Armed Forces. For the time being, no order has been placed to replenish the French inventory.

Ceasar in Ukrainian service

It is a major asset for the Ukrainian army, which only had old non-mobile systems before the war.

“This system is very manageable. It is an important factor in a contemporary war like this”, explained a Ukrainian commander interviewed by AFP, comparing the Caesars “to the old non-mobile Ukrainian systems. We save a lot of time so that the enemy cannot attack us or retaliate quickly.”

Removal issues

Ukrainian command has cited a shortage of repair and recovery vehicles for the removal of NATO heavy equipment damaged at the front. The head of the logistics service of the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Vladimir Karpenko, said the country has great difficulties with components for NATO heavy equipment. If it fails, having received damage during the battle, then there is not a sufficient number of repair and recovery vehicles to promptly take the equipment for repair. Ordinary army vehicles often cannot recover towed equipment that has received significant damage at the front. Secondly, even if the equipment is taken from the battlefield, there are fewer opportunities for its full restoration.

Kyiv continues to demand more and more equipment and weapons from the West, which includes the replacement of the damaged units during the fighting. At the same time, the logistics department of the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is working out the modalities of sending damaged Western equipment to NATO countries for its repair and, after that, bringing it back to the frontlines. According to some reports, such processes are taking place between Ukraine and Poland.

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