In April, France donated 12 CAESAR wheeled howitzers to Ukraine, with the news confirmed by French President Emmanuel Macron during an interview with a French newspaper. And in recent video footage, we get to see how the weapons perform in combat.
France confirmed that several artillery weapons here headed to Ukraine, to help Kyiv push Russian forces out of central Ukraine and to assist with the fighting in the eastern Donbas region.
“We are delivering significant equipment, from Milan to CAESAR,” Macron said, referencing French-made anti-tank missiles and self-propelled howitzers.
“I think we have to continue on this route. Always with the red line that we will not become parties to the conflict,” he added.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly also confirmed that thousands of shells would be sent with the CAESAR cannons.
In footage that went viral this week, the French artillery cannons can be seen in active use. The footage shows how the self-propelled howitzers easily travel over rural terrain, with three cannons parked in what appears to be a farm field. The cannons are parked in a row and Ukrainian soldiers get out, prepare the cannons, and fire the ammunition.
French-donated CAESAR self-propelled howitzers in Ukrainian service pic.twitter.com/LvaDr78kjq
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) June 6, 2022
A reporter can be seen describing the scene to the camera as the three vehicles turn around and flee the scene.
The footage shows how a team of just five soldiers can prepare the howitzers, load the ammunition, fire the weapons, and then quickly leave.
What is the CAESAR?
The CAESAR wheeled howitzer is one of the most recognizable modern vehicles used by the French military. It was used in Iraq and Mali, and several world governments have explored purchasing their own fleet of the howitzers – including Malaysia and Iraq.
There are two variants of the vehicle, one with a 6×6 chassis and another with an 8×8 chassis. The self-propelled howitzer, developed by the French Nexter group, is agile, mobile, and can travel as fart as 600km at a speed of 50km/h. The howitzer also has a maximum speed of 50 km/h.
As well as its remarkably strong STANAG 4569 Level 2 armor, the vehicle also features an autonomous weapons system, a ballistic calculator, and an initial speed radar. It is also fitted with an artillery system that can fire 6 shells in under a minute, with ammunition that reaches a maximum range of 40km.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.