CAESAR self-propelled howitzer
The CAESAR (CAmion Équipé d'un Système d'ARtillerie; French: Truck equipped with an artillery system) is a French self-propelled 155 mm/52-calibre gun-howitzer, installed on a 6X6 truck chassis. Examples built for the French Army use a Renault Sherpa 10 chassis, examples built for export utilize the 6x6 Unimog U2450L chassis. The CAESAR platform was developed by the former GIAT Industries (now known as Nexter) and is operated by the French, Indonesian, Saudi Arabian, and Thai militaries.
CAESAR howitzer on a Unimog U2450L 6x6 chassis
|Place of origin||France|
|Wars||War in Afghanistan (2001–present) |
Cambodian–Thai border stand-off
|Mass||17.7 tonnes (6×6)|
28.7-30.2 tonnes (8×8)
|Length||10 m (32 ft 10 in)|
12.3 m (40 ft 4 in) (8x8)
|Width||2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)|
2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) (8x8)
|Height||3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)|
3.1 m (10 ft 2 in) (8x8)
|Crew||5-6 (3, emergency)|
|600 km (370 mi)|
|Speed||On-road: 100 km/h (62 mph)|
Off-road: 50 km/h (31 mph)
Caesar was developed in the 1990s as a technology demonstrator by the French state-owned company GIAT Industries; in cooperation with Lohr Industrie. It was first shown in public in 1994. Four years later a pre-production model underwent trials with the French Army.
The Caesar artillery system evolved from the earlier 155 AM F3 automotive gun, which used the chassis of the AMX-13 light tank.
The CAESAR is a wheeled, 155mm 52-caliber self-propelled howitzer. It holds 18 rounds and is typically operated by a crew of five, though if necessary, the CAESAR can be operated by as few as three persons. It can be transported by C-130 or A400M, and has a firing range of approximately 42 km using an Extended Range, Full Bore (ERFB) shell, and more than 50 km using rocket assisted shells. The system is integrated with a fully computerized system, providing an automatic control. During Eurosatory 2006, CAESAR was exhibited with an automated laying system based on the SIGMA 30 inertial navigation system.
Nexter is developing an armored cab for the CAESAR in response to demand for more protection for the crew. The additional armor will protect against IEDs and roadside bombs, anti-vehicle mines, and 155 mm shells landing as close as five meters (16 feet) away from the vehicle. It can be added to the cabs of existing CAESARs. Heavier armor will increase its weight by 400 kg (880 pounds) and raise the price by 4-5 percent.
In 16 September 2015, Nexter has unveiled the Caesar 8x8 at DSEI 2015 with high level of mobility ensured by a modified Tatra T-815 8x8 chassis. The 8x8 Caesar being shown is fitted with a standard unarmoured forward control four-person cab, but one of the options is a fully armour protected cab. Gross vehicle weight would depend on the level of armour protection, but is about 30 tonnes. It is powered by a 410 hp diesel engine.
- France: The first order (for 5 howitzers) was passed on 20 September 2000. The first five units were delivered in 2003. Following the evaluation, the main order of 72 units were made in late 2004. In July 2008, the first cannon of the first series of eight was delivered to the French Army. Although the order is not signed yet, a requirement was set for 32 more CAESAR on the Tatra 8*8 chassis to replace the last Auf1 by 2030
- Indonesia: The Indonesian Army acquired 37 units of Caesars for $240 million and the first two arrived on mid September 2012. Another 18 were purchased in a follow-up order signed in February 2017.
- Lebanon: France has accepted to provide the Lebanese Army with 28 CAESAR systems, financed by the Saudi Arabian grant.
- Saudi Arabia: In 2006, GIAT announced a 76-unit sale plus a 4-unit option to an unspecified foreign customer, later confirmed to be Saudi Arabia. The 4 optional units became firm sales on January 2007. The two first units will be assembled in France as the 78 other ones will be assembled in Saudi Arabia. In March 2010, the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) accepted its first four of a projected 100 systems.
- Thailand: The 6 CAESAR is operated by the Royal Thai Army (RTA) from 2010, ordered in 2006, mounted on the Sherpa6x6 truck chassis.
In June 2009, the French Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed that eight CAESAR would be sent to Afghanistan to support French operations. They were deployed during the summer.
Three were deployed 1 August 2009 by the 3rd Marine Artillery Regiment (3è RAMa), followed by five others, deployed as a firebase in FOB Tora, Tagab and Nijrab. They are fitted with cabin armor add-ons, with fireport.
The French army deployed this system in southern Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL peace keeping force.
Multiple CAESAR were deployed to Iraq on the border with Syria from 8 November 2018 to April 2019 to support the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Battle of Baghuz Fawqani, the ultimately successful operation to capture the final town held by the Islamic State group. They deployed to Firebase Saham, a base freshly constructed by the U.S. Army to provide fire support during the battle, especially during cloudy days when U.S. aircraft could not see to conduct airstrikes.
French-made tanks and CAESAR howitzer canons have been used in Yemeni war against civilians.
Firing into the Middle Euphrates River Valley from within Iraq, December 2018
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