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Minister of Defence Pevkur: The first Caesar howitzers will arrive in Estonia this year

19. June 2024 - 18:25
Hanno Pevkur.
Hanno Pevkur.

Statement by Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur

Today is a historic day marking a new milestone in the bilateral defence cooperation between Estonia and France, significantly enhancing France's footprint in Estonia. Estonia has signed a contract with France for the procurement of 12 Caesar self-propelled howitzers for the Estonian Defence Forces. This weapon system, which has been successfully tested in Ukraine’s defence against Russia's war of aggression, provides Estonia with a mobile, flexible, and long-range fire support capability.

The procurement further strengthens the strategic partnership between Estonia and France and contributes to the interoperability of our defence forces.

Development of a wheeled self-propelled artillery battalion is one of the urgent priorities of the Estonian current Estonian National Defence Development Plan. We are glad that French industry is able to provide 6 howitzers already this year and the accompanying package of necessary training and spare parts to within the timeframe that suits Estonia’s urgent capability development timelines.

The defence relationship between Estonia and France is based on mutual trust, strategic intimacy and interoperability consolidated by almost a decade of enhanced exchanges and military cooperation.

As part of NATO Battlegroup (eFP), France has been directly contributing to the defence and security of Estonia since 2017 and is committed to strengthening the deterrence and defence posture on the Alliance’s eastern flank. Now permanently militarily deployed in Estonia, French armed forces also train the Estonian Defence League and regularly participate in the Baltic Air Policing Missions.

The strategic solidarity between Estonia and France has also been expressed in other theatres of operations. In 2014, Estonian and French armed forces cooperated in the Central African Republic. Between 2018 and 2022, Estonian Defence Forces participated in French-led Operation Barkhane and Task Force Takuba helping local armed forces at addressing the terrorist threat in Africa’s Sahel region.

Read more about the procurement of Caesar howitzers here.

Additional information: [email protected]