CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzer
CAESAR Truck equipped with an artillery system 155mm gun - Made in France
The French Company Nexter Systems, which is now part of the KNDS group with the German Company KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), has developed and manufactured two types of CAESAR wheeled self-propelled howitzers in 6x6 and 8x8 configurations. The 8x8 variant is the second generation of 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer in the family of CAESAR (French acronym of CAmionEquipe d'un Systemed'ARtillerie, or truck equipped with an artillery system in English). This version of the CAESAR was unveiled during the defense exhibition in London, DSEI in September 2015. The Caesar 8x8 presented at DSEI was based on the Tatra T-815 8x8 chassis, but the Nexter 155mm artillery system can be fitted on other 8x8 truck chassis available on the military market. The French company Nexter has developed the new concept of the CAESAR to respond to new customer requirements regarding the use of the new automatic loading system and to increase the payload to carry more ammunition and charges. The 8x8 self-propelled howitzer CAESAR uses the same 155/52 caliber cannon as the 6x6 version, however, weapon control systems have been updated. In 2017, Denmark selected this artillery system to replace their old M109 tracked armored self-propelled howitzers that have been in service since 1965. On March 2017, Denmark has selected the Caesar 8x8 to replace their current American-made m109A3 155 mm tracked self-propelled howitzer which in service since 1965. The 6x6 Caesar has already been used in combat operations in Mali, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and recently Iraq. In March 2017, the Danish Ministry of Defence announced that the French company Nexter will supply Denmark with a new artillery system Caesar 8x8 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer. Denmark has purchased 15 units of the new system and has an option for 6 more. It will replace the 32 US-built M109A3 self-propelled howitzers. On October 1, the French newspaper "Le Monde" website announced that France to deliver 8 CAESAR howitzers in 8x8 configuration that were planned to be delivered to Denmark. On December 14, 2022, the Czech Ministry of Defense (MoD) signed an additional order of 10 French-made Nexter CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers. Previously, the Czech MoD had already ordered 52 CAESAR howitzers in 2021. On January 19, 2023, Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen announced that the 19 CAESAR 155mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzers ordered to the French Company Nexter Systems will be donated to Ukraine.
8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzers CAESAR Nexter variants:
- The 155mm howitzer can be mounted on other truck chassis following customer requirements.
The 8x8 self-propelled howitzer CAESAR is armed with one 155mm/L52 52 caliber howitzer which is similar to the cannon mounted on the 6x6 version. The CAESAR 8x8 is fitted with a fully automatic loading system offering a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute. The cannon can fire a wide range of 155mm ammunition including LU family (HE, Illuminating, Smoke and Practice), practice ammunition, M107 (High Explosive), M485A2 (Illuminating). It has also the capability to fire smart ammunition BONUS, fire-and-forget munitions designed to destroy enemy combat vehicles, ranging from armored personnel carriers and self-propelled guns to infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. Above the target area, the BONUS carrier shell separates to deploy two sensor-fuzed munitions which then rotate in search of targets within a given search footprint, up to 32,000 square meters. As soon as a threat is located, the munition immediately moves into the attack phase to accomplish its mission and destroy the target. The 8x8 CAESAR will be also able to fire the next generation of ammunition as the KATANA, new guided artillery ammunition developed by Nexter. With a maximum range between 30 km for the first generation and 60 km for the next, KATANA will strike targets with pinpoint precision. The gun can reach targets up to 42 km with ERFB (Extended Range Full Bore) ammunition and 55 km with VLAP. In addition to firing the standard French Army LU 122 high-explosive base bleed (BB) and Hollow Base (HB) projectile, the CAESAR can also fire the Rheinmetall Denel Munitions Velocity enhanced Long-range Artillery Projectile (VLAP) which achieved a maximum range of 58 km. The CAESAR has a hydraulic traverse and elevation with manual backup in case of failure with the hydraulic system. It has an elevation range from -4° to 72° and a traverse of 34°, 17° left and right. The vehicle carries a total of 36 projectiles and associated charges. The gun can also be used for direct fire against ground targets to a range of up to 2,000 m. It can be ready to fire the first rounds in 1min and leave its firing position in the same time. In option, the roof of the crew can be fitted with a manual or a remotely operated weapon station armed with a machine gun up to 12.7mm caliber that can be used for the self-protection of the vehicle or as an anti-aircraft weapon.
|Design and protection|
The weapon system of the 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer CAESAR is mounted on an 8x8 military truck chassis with a crew cab at the front and the armament at the rear. Each side of the crew cab is fitted with two large doors. The shells and charges are stored in boxes located on each side of the truck chassis. The Caesar 8x8 is operated by a crew of 4 consisting of a commander, a driver, a gunner, and one shells loader but it can be reduced to 3 people. All the firing operations are performed outside of the vehicle. The crew cab can be in an unarmored or armored version to provide ballistic protection up to Level 3 STANAG 4569 against the firing of small arms 7.62x51 AP at 30 meters and mine protection up to Level 2 against blast explosion of 6 kg TNT under the wheels and the center of the vehicle. In the firing position, a large spade is hydraulically lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform. Footsteps are also deployed manually by the crew on each side of the truck used to help soldiers handle ammunition and charges. The Caesar 8x8 has a gross weight from 28.4 to 30.2 tons depending on the level of armor protection and a length of 12.3m, a width of 3.1 m, and a height of 2.80 m.
|The standard 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer is based on an 8x8 military modified truck chassis T-815 designed and built by the Czech company TATRA. For the Danish CAESAR, TATRA has provided the T-815 truck chassis. According to customer requirements, Nexter can easily integrate the weapon system to any type of 8x8 truck chassis that can be adapted for artillery use. The CAESAR 8x8 on a Tatra chassis is motorized with a V-8 turbocharged Diesel engine developing 410 hp. at 1.800 rpm coupled to an automatic transmission. It can run at a maximum road speed of 100 km/h and 50 km/h in off-road conditions. It can climb a gradient of 40° and a side slope of 30°. It can cross a trench of 2.1m, a vertical step of 0.6m, and a fording depth of 1.2m. The vehicle can easily be transported by military aircraft such as A400M, IL76, C17, etc.|
|The standard equipment of the 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer includes an Inertial navigation system for land navigation and automatic gun laying and relaying, a computerized fire control system CS 2002-g, RDB4 muzzle velocity radar 3-D display ammunition status management system, ammunition resupply management system, and gun status management system. It has also a thermal camera for direct firing. It can fire as standalone gun systems or connected to a network of the artillery command post. It can be connected to other army systems to take part in collaborative combat. However, the artillery battery could retain fire control.|
|One 155mm/52 Cal. gun and one 7.62 or 12.7mm machine gun||Standard non-protected cab, can be upgraded to ballistic protection level 3 and mine protection level 2, IED protected|
|Denmark||28,400 to 30,200 kg|
|Country Manufacturer||Speed truck|
|France - Nexter Systems||100 km/h on road and 50 km/h in off-road condition|
|Inertial Navigation System for land navigation and gun-laying GPS compatible, Muzzle Velocity Radar, Ballistic computer (adaptable to any Fire Control System), Auxiliary Power Unit, Maintenance (spare wheels, winch, ...)||600 km|
|3 to 5 soldiers||Length: 12.3 m; Width: 2.8 m; Height: 3.1 m|
|Onboard Ammunition||Firing Range|
|Up to 36||- Standard ammunition: 4,5 to 40 km |
- Extended Range Full Bore: 42 km
- VLAP: extended range
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