Czech Republic plans to purchase 52 French Nexter CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers

The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is planning to replace its old Dana 152 mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) with the French-made CAESAR 155 mm self-propelled artillery systems, the Czech MoD announced on June 4, 2020.
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French-made Nexter CAESAR 8x8 155mm self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Army Recognition)

“The MoD of the Czech Republic has decided to launch negotiations with France’s Nexter over the [potential] procurement of 52 CAESAR SPHs in order to sign a contract [for those systems] later this year,” said the MoD in a statement.

According to the Czech military, the new SPHs will replace aging Dana 152 mm artillery systems that do not meet current NATO requirements. The CAESAR has been down-selected, following the evaluation of eight modern artillery weapons.

The Dana is also known as the Samohybná Kanónová Húfnica vzor 77 (ShKH vz. 77), is a 152mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer that was developed in the late 1970s to respond to a request for the Czech army for a new mobile artillery system. The Dana 152mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer is fitted with a fully enclosed armored turret mounted on the center of the chassis which is armed with one 152mm with a muzzle brake and fires the same ammunition as the Russian-made 152 mm 2S3 tracked self-propelled howitzer.

The turret of the Dana has a traverse of 225° to each side and the cannon has an elevation of +70° and depression of -4°. The vehicle can carry a total of 60 ammunition stored inside the chassis and the turret. It has a maximum firing range of 20 km with standard ammunition and 28 km with extended range ammunition.

“The new SPHs will be assigned to a heavy armored brigade that will have been established by 2026. The artillery system will employ a Tatra 8×8 carrier,” said the MoD, adding that the final assembly of the guns would be conducted in the Czech Republic.

The CAESAR 8x8 is an upgraded version of the CAESAR 6x6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer using 155/52 caliber cannon. This artillery is designed and manufactured by the French Defense Company Nexter Systems. The Nexter Caesar 8x8 is 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 manufactured by Renault trucks defense, Rheinmetall MAN military, and Sizu.

The main armament of the Nexter Caesar 8x8 consists of one 155mm/52 cal gun which is similar to the cannon mounted on the 6x6 Caesar. The Caesar 8x8 as a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds/min. It can carry a total of 30 155mm projectiles and charges, the 155mm cannon has a powered elevation of maximum +72° and traverse 30° left/right and a large hydraulically operated spade is lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform. 

The Caesar 8x8 has a firing range from 4.5 to 40 km with standard ammunition and 55Km using VLAP (Very Long-range Artillery Projectile) rounds. It can be also used against land targets at a maximum range of 2Km. In option, the roof of the truck cab can be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm gun.

Denmark had already signed a contract with Nexter on 22 May 2017 for the delivery of 15 CAESAR 8x8 systems, which were delivered mid-2020 to the Danish forces.

The Czech MoD is planning to allocate CZK5.95 billion (EUR245 million) for the procurement of the abovementioned artillery systems. According to the ministry, the delivery of the CAESAR guns is scheduled for 2022-2026.

Czech Republic plans to purchase 52 French Nexter CAESAR 155mm wheeled self propelled howitzers 925 002
Czech Army DANA 152mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer (Picture source Army Recognition)

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