Artillery vehicle

Caesars are 19.5 ton artillery units in Ukraine

Russia has depended on heavy artillery for centuries, and the way it is waging its war in Ukraine proves that little has changed. Modern artillery can fire expensive munitions that can be precisely guided to, in the best possible scenario, only hit the target, but it seems clear from the damage inflicted on civilians in Ukraine that artillery Russian uses cheap, unguided shells or rockets.

To counter this massive artillery fire, Ukraine asked its allies to provide it with modern artillery systems capable of firing and darting, i.e. firing the ammunition from a vehicle and then leave before the shell has even reached its target. This makes it very difficult for the enemy to counterattack, because by the time they have determined where the shell was fired from, the gunners have scampered away.

France said it lent a dozen in April, then six more earlier this month, of its Caesar truck-mounted howitzers that the French military had already used in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali. Other nations that have the Caesar are the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Here’s what you need to know about Caesar.

It is said to be easy to use

It took only two weeks for Ukrainian soldiers on a training ground in France to learn how to use the 19.5-ton Caesars, manufactured by the French company Nexter. The gun is mounted on a 6×6 truck whose 245 horsepower engine can propel it to a maximum on-road speed of 50 mph and an off-road speed of over 31 mph. The 33-foot-long, 8-foot-wide, and 12-foot-tall truck has a cruising range of 373 miles and can fit into a transport plane for transport to its destination.

popular science spoke to a Caesar crew at last week’s Eurosatory land arms show in Paris; they said the gun could be used by a crew of four, “but five makes it faster”. All but one of its operators are base soldiers.

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The vehicle operator positions the truck, then lowers the hydraulically operated platform at the rear. It pushes down, lifting the truck’s rear wheels off the ground a few inches. This is necessary to help manage the vibrations caused when firing. The ammunition supplier transports the ammunition to the loader, who inserts the shells into the semi-automatic system. During this time, the shooter (the person directing the artillery) sets the coordinates using a satellite positioning system, such as GPS, or a map, and fires the weapon.

It’s quick

It takes less than 60 seconds for the Caesar to spring into action once the vehicle is parked, and less than a minute for the semi-automatic 155mm/52 caliber gun to launch six shells at a target 3 to 31 seconds away. miles. at all times. Less than 40 seconds after the last shell fire, the Caesar can be gone. Pull and spin.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. Army uses the M777 155mm towed artillery piece which, as its name suggests, must be towed into position and detached from the tow vehicle before a minimum of eight soldiers can utilize. The Ministry of Defense is looking to replace it with a truck-mounted system like those made by France, but also Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, China, Israel, Japan and South Africa. .

It’s powerful

The barrel detonation chamber, or part of the system where the propellant charge detonates, is 23 liters, compared to 18 liters on the US Army’s M777 towed howitzer, meaning it can be filled with more than thruster which then expels the shells faster. and further. It fires all 39/52 caliber ammunition meeting NATO or ERFB (Extended-Range Full-Bore) standards or smart ammunition such as BONUS and SPACIDO.

It’s about to be refreshed

The new version, called Caesar NG (for New Generation), will be mounted on an 8×8 truck and has already been purchased by Belgium and Lithuania. The Caesar NG will weigh 27.56 tons, almost 8 tons more than the first generation, because the truck’s cabin will be armored to level 2 STANAG (it’s a NATO standard) instead of possibly being protected by armored kits bolted to the cab as is. case with gen-one version.

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The Level 2 STANAG protects occupants from a 7.6×39mm canister fired 30 meters (98 ft), a 6 kg (13 lb) explosive mine under any wheel or truck or under the center, and a 155 mm high explosive. fired from 80 meters (262 ft) away.

Since the 8×8 truck is heavier, it will be powered by a 460 HP engine instead of the 245 HP engine of the 6×6 allowing it to reach the same speeds on and off the road. It will also have a new automatic gearbox and a new chassis. The Caesar NG is larger overall: 40 feet long, 9 feet wide, and 10 feet high.

The Caesar NG should be ready by 2024. France will then have to choose between ordering 109 or ordering only 33 and modernizing the 76 it already has, assuming that none of those loaned to Ukraine not be destroyed.