Self-propelled howitzers "Caesar" for the Armed Forces of Ukraine: what are its' pros and cons

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Self-propelled howitzers "Caesar" for the Armed Forces of Ukraine: what are its' pros and cons
Self-propelled howitzers "Caesar" for the Armed Forces of Ukraine: what are its' pros and cons
16 June, 17:11ArmyPhoto: Соцсети
France has prepared six more self-propelled 155-mm Caesar howitzers designed and manufactured by the French company Nexter for shipment to Ukraine.

Alexander Sychev

President Francois Macron prudently prepared a new batch of French military aid on the eve of his trip to Ukraine, which he went along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. France has many more similar artillery systems. The artillery adopted at the beginning of the century needs to be disposed of somehow - there are plans to replace it with a more advanced version called Caesar NG (New Generation).

In the New Generation, the changes affected the engine (Arquus installs a new one with a capacity of 460 horsepower instead of a 225-horsepower diesel engine), uses new software for the fire control system, and improved cabin armor.

The Caesar self-propelled howitzer (ACS) is based on an Arkuus (formerly Renault Trucks) truck. Some are mounted on a chassis from Mercedes-Benz, but in general the French are ready to attach their cannon to almost any truck at the request of the customer.

The version supplied to Ukraine is based on the chassis of the Arkuus military diesel truck with a 6x6 wheel arrangement. Combat weight reaches 17.7 tons. The speed of movement on the highway is 90 kilometers per hour, and on rough terrain - 50. The maximum range is 600 kilometers. The car can overcome a slope of more than 40%, fords with a depth of 1.2 meters without preparation, but its patency, nevertheless, leaves much to be desired. Greasy Ukrainian dirt is too tough for her.

The gun is mounted at the rear of the chassis. During movement, the barrel is fixed with a special holder, which can be controlled from the cab. Armor on the cockpit can protect against small caliber bullets and artillery shell fragments. But still she is weak.

When the crew arrives at the position, the gun is hydraulically lowered to the ground and rests on a large platform. In case of hydraulic failure, there is a manual control system. The four rear wheels are raised. Recoil when firing is mainly absorbed by the support platform and to a small extent by the front wheels. An artillery mount can be brought into combat position in less than a minute.

The standard equipment of the Caesar self-propelled howitzer includes the Sigma-30 guidance and positioning system manufactured by the French company Safran, the Bacara artillery computer and GPS. Data entry and processing are computerized. Shooting can be controlled from the cockpit. There is also a screen at the rear of the gun system that displays height, trajectory, projectile and charge type, and fuse.

Depending on the ammunition used, the Caesar howitzer can hit targets at a distance of 4.5 to 40 kilometers. You can shoot direct fire with a maximum range of two kilometers. The arsenal of ammunition includes anti-tank Bonus, ERFB NR extended range projectiles, Katana guided munitions and a number of others. The maximum rate of fire is six rounds per minute.

The charges and shells are loaded onto the stretchers manually. Then the machine feeds them into the barrel. In total, the vehicle can carry 18 sets of shells and charges, which are stored in closed ammunition boxes located on the right and left sides of the truck. A small ammunition load is another drawback of the French system.

In total, the French produced more than 300 Caesar artillery gun systems, which are in service with a number of countries. French self-propelled guns, the cheapest self-propelled guns available on the arms market today. They managed to fight in Afghanistan, Mali, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel region and East Asia. During this time, more than 100 thousand shots were fired from the Caesars, and the vehicles traveled a total of a million kilometers, including 50 thousand during the fighting.

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