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Saudi Arabia reportedly has more French artillery on order

17 April 2019
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Saudi Arabia is in the process of receiving more than 100 CAESAR 155 mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers and has ordered 105 LG1 105 mm light guns, both of which are made by France's Nexter Systems, according to a 15 April report by the French activist organisation Disclose.

A photograph released by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) shows a CAESAR purportedly during an exercise in March. The SANG is the only Saudi military organisation that has been seen using the howitzer. (Saudi Arabian National Guard)A photograph released by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) shows a CAESAR purportedly during an exercise in March. The SANG is the only Saudi military organisation that has been seen using the howitzer. (Saudi Arabian National Guard)

"No less than 129 CAESARs are due to be delivered between now and 2023," it said in a written report about French weaponry being used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. An accompanying video put the figure at 105.

Neither figure was sourced but Disclose pointed to satellite imagery apparently showing 10 CAESARs at Jeddah's port on 18 October 2018 as evidence that deliveries were taking place. This was further supported by a photograph of military support vehicles made by the French company Soframe at the same location.

Disclose also reported that Nexter finalised a contract called Artis with Saudi Arabia in December 2018 that includes the delivery of an unspecified number of Titus armoured vehicles and 105 LG1 light guns. It did not source this information but quoted an unidentified Nexter employee as confirming the contract's existence and describing it as "politically sensitive".

As evidence of the Saudi contracts, Disclose published a table produced by Nexter's economic commission showing the companies planned delivery schedule. However, the data did not identify the recipients and clearly included vehicles that are not destined for Saudi Arabia, such as the Griffons and Jaguars ordered by the French and Belgian militaries.

The table indicated that 147 CAESARs on the standard 6×6 chassis would be delivered between 2018-24. The French Army will receive 32 of those guns under the 2019-25 Military Programming Law approved last year and Indonesia has an another 18 on order. That leaves 106 potentially available for Saudi Arabia and/or other undisclosed customers.

Saudi Arabia may have also ordered the CAESAR on the 8×8 Tatra chassis.

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