Armenian purchase of French artillery system a “new important milestone”

(PHOTO: Zakia Grey)

By Sonya Dymova

Armenia is set to purchase an unspecified number of CAESAR artillery systems as a result of what French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu called a “new important milestone” reached Monday. The contract comes as part of a larger military-technical cooperation agreement between Armenia’s Ministry of Defense and the French military-industrial company KNDS.

“We continue to strengthen our relations with Armenia in the defense sector,” Lecornu wrote on his X page, formerly Twitter.

CAESAR truck-mounted artillery systems, produced by KNDS’s company Nexter, have a maximum firing range of over 25 miles. The self-propelled and highly mobile howitzer can fire six rounds per minute, allowing for fast-paced attack and immediate relocation known as the shoot-and-scoot artillery tactic. It was not specified whether Armenia will purchase the CAESAR’s six or eight wheel drive model, though a model at the signing ceremony was of the 6×6 version.

According to Eduard Arakelyan, military analyst at the Yerevan-based Regional Center for Democracy and Security, the deal shows France is not limiting itself to providing radar and surveillance equipment, and that “Armenia is steadily transitioning from the Soviet caliber artillery to the widely used 155 mm.”

Arakelyan expects there will be more deliveries from France to come, likely of air defense and new generation anti-tank weapons.

Discussions around military cooperation and arms deals have been on the Armenia-France agenda at least since October 2023, when Yerevan made its first purchase of Western-made weapons via an agreement with France. This comes as Armenia’s relations with its traditional arms dealer Russia continue to fray as Yerevan accuses Moscow of failing to uphold defense obligations.

With additional reporting by Paul Vartan Sookiasian

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