After having acted as NATO's bad student with a defense effort barely above 1,1% of GDP in 2020, and devoting less than 1% to its defense between 2013 and 2019, the Belgian authorities have Like many other European chancelleries, announced a very significant increase in this effort in the years to come. This increase will take place in two stages, a first one targeting 1,54% of GDP in 2025, and a second aiming to reach the 2% required by NATO in 2035, i.e. 10 years after the deadline set by the Atlantic Alliance. Under these conditions, the Belgian armies, financially drained for nearly 20 years, can once again consider a capability development plan consistent with its needs and existing threats, after having, during all these years, mainly relied on the resilience of its soldiers to respond to the many missions and requests in which they participated. This very low level of investment over such a long period explains, in this respect and to a large extent, the gradual ramp-up of the announced investment. Indeed, it would probably have been ineffective to bring the defense effort to 2% of GDP in 2025, knowing that beyond the equipment programs, it will take many years for the Belgian armies to increase in power, in particular concerning the HR dimension.
One of the first measures announced after this historic and redemptive decision for the Belgian armies, is none other than the next order for 19 additional 155 mm CAESAr guns, after a first order for 9 systems signed a few months ago, in order to to acquire, once again, sufficient artillery capacity to support the action of a combat brigade. As previously, the new guns ordered by Brussels will be CAESAr NG, an evolution of the CAESAr 6×6 already in service within the French Army, and which seems to demonstrate excellent combat capabilities in Ukraine. The new version of the CAESAr will have, among other things, a more powerful engine, with a 460 hp diesel engine twice as powerful as the current engine (210 hp), but also reinforced armor brought to the STANAG 4569 level 2 standard. , i.e. able to withstand a 7,62mm light machine gun shot at short range (30 meters), a 6 kg IED exploding under or near the vehicle, as well as shrapnel from a 155mm shell exploding at 80m. In fact, although heavier, the new Caesar will also be more mobile and better protected than its predecessor, more than appreciable qualities in the event of a high-intensity engagement.
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