France signs deal to supply howitzers to Czech Army

AFP , Thursday 30 Sep 2021

'By buying 52 new NATO-calibre cannons, we will boost our defence capacity and replace the DANA howitzers that are more than 40 years old,' Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar said

French Minister of Defense Florence Parly
File Photo: French Minister of Defense Florence Parly. AP

France signed a deal in Prague on Thursday to sell 52 howitzer cannons worth 333 million euros ($386 million) to the Czech Army.

Frech arms group Nexter makes the 155-milimetre Caesar howitzers, which will replace the Czech-made DANA over the next three to five years.

"By buying 52 new NATO-calibre cannons, we will boost our defence capacity and replace the DANA howitzers that are more than 40 years old," Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar said.

"The weapons will be supplied in 2024-2026," he added.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly hailed the Caesar artillery cannons as "a powerful, accurate and modern tool".

"With a local share of more than 40 percent, the Czech industry will be fully involved in the construction of this system," she told reporters.

France will supply the first four howitzers and the remaining 48 will be completed in the Czech Republic by the Czechoslovak Group holding company.

The Czech defence ministry, which considered eight offers, announced the deal last year but the talks took longer than expected.

The French Army has been using the 155-millimetre Caesar canons with a range of 40 kilometres (nearly 25 miles) since 2008.

In July 2019, Nexter sold 62 Titus armoured vehicles to the Czech Republic, a NATO member since 1999, for 230 million euros.

The Czech Republic used to be part of Czechoslovakia, a former Communist nation.

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