The French Army has deployed the CAESAR self-propelled howitzer in the region around Mossoul in Iraq over the past few days but according to the joint chief of staff (EMA) they will only be operational “in autumn” (which sounds distant but starts in two weeks!). An EMA spokesman said this morning (8 September) at the weekly Defence Ministry press conference, that no further details would be supplied so as not to compromise the operation supporting Iraqi troops who are trying to regain control of this northern Iraqi city which has been controlled by Daesh since June 2014.
The CAESAR (Camion Equipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie), made by Nexter, is air-transportable on an A400M despite its 18 tonnes, 10m length, 2.55m width, and 3.7m height (a metre less in its air-transportable configuration).
The 155mm/52 cal. gun can fire six shots a minute at a maximum range of 42kms using ERFB (Extended Range, Full Bore) munitions and at more than 55kms using rocket shells.
It can carry 18 complete rounds which it charges semi-automatically but aiming and re-aiming is totally automatic.
It comes in three 6×6 versions, mounted according to customer preference on a Mercedes Unimog, Renault Trucks, or Ashoka-Leyland chassis.
The cabin can optioanlly be armoured to STANAG 4569 norms: ballistic level 3 (12.7mm and 7.62mm perforating), mines 3a (8kg under wheel) and 2b (6kg under hull), IED (50kg at 5m) and artillery (155mm shells at 5m).
More than 270 CAESARs have been bought by four countries including France which has used them in Afghanistan and Mali. CAESAR is thus combat-proven.
A new version of CAESAR was unveiled last June at the Eurosatory land and air-land show in Paris. This 30 tonne 8×8 can carry 30 rounds automatically charged with a newly designed system.