The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence (MoD) has signed a Declaration of Intent to procure 18 new-generation Caesar MarktII self-propelled wheeled 155mm howitzers from France.

The ministry will join the General Directorate for Armament of France in developing the Caesar Mark II artillery system.

According to the MoD, the entire procurement process may see an expenditure of up to €150m, including the development of the artillery system, acquisition, and integration into the armed forces. 

Details about how many howitzers Lithuania plans to purchase remain unknown.

The move to buy the new generation of howitzers is aimed at strengthening The Lithuanian Armed Forces and its artillery capabilities.

Lithuanian National Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said: “The acquisition of the French Caesar MarktII new generation artillery systems will be the largest project the Lithuanian Armed Forces has ever had with France. 

“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.”

The new weapon systems will be used in place of the outdated 105mm towed howitzers and will be dedicated to Brigadier General Motiejus Pečiulionis Artillery Battalion.

The technical agreement, which defines the MoD’s role in the Caesar MarktII development programme, will likely be signed by 30 July.

Other NATO allies, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and France, either have or plan to own the Caesar MarktII howitzers.  

In February this year, French Direction générale de l’armement awarded a contract to weaponry systems manufacturer Nexter to develop the Caesar 6X6 Mark II new generation artillery system.