Nexter Caesar 8×8 self-propelled howitzer(CAESAR 2)

Nexter Caesar 8×8 self-propelled howitzer(CAESAR 2)

The CAESAR 8×8 self-propelled howitzer was developed by Nexter. Sometimes this artillery system is referred as CAESAR 2. The acronym CAESAR stands for CAmion Equipe d’un Systeme d’ARtillerie, or truck equipped with an artillery system. It is based on the original CAESAR, which first appeared back in 1994 and was the first mass produced truck-mounted howitzer. Prototype of the CAESAR with 8×8 configuration was revealed in 2015. The new artillery system, which emerged more than 20 years after its predecessor, is based on an 8×8 chassis. Gun of the new artillery system remains without significant changes, however weapon control systems have been updated. So the CAESAR 8×8 can shoot faster and is more accurate than its predecessor. In 2017 Denmark selected this artillery system to replace their old M109 howitzers that are in service since 1965.
   This new artillery system can support rapid deployment forces.
   This truck-mounted artillery system is fitted with a 155 mm/L52 howitzer, which is capable of direct and indirect firing. The CAESAR 8×8 has a brand new fully automated ammunition loading system. It is operated by a crew of 2-3 men. Maximum rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute. Though the CAESAR 8×8 is also proposed with a semi-automatic loading system, which requires a crew of 4-5 men.
   The CAESAR 8×8 fires all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition, including ordinary and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG rounds, cargo rounds with anti-tank or fragmentation bomblets, smoke and illumination rounds. It is also capable of firing BONUS or SPACIDO precision-guided anti-tank munitions. The Bonus round carries two smart anti-tank submunitions to a range of 34 km. Maximum range of fire is 42 km with rocket-assisted HE-FRAG projectile and a whooping 55 km with a VLAP projectile. Range of direct fire is up to 2 km.
   The CAESAR 8×8 is capable of Multiple-Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) firing. It can launch a couple of projectiles, each in different trajectories, so that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time. A single artillery system can land on target with no warning multiple shells. Such way of firing can be very effective. Furthermore the CAESAR 8×8 has a brief in and out of action times and can be used on shoot-and-scoot missions in order to avoid counter battery fire. It takes only 60 seconds to prepare this artillery system for firing or leave the firing position. Within 2 minutes the CAESAR 8×8 can fire 6 rounds and leave its position.
   The new truck-mounted howitzer is based on aTatra T815-7 8×8 chassis. It has higher payload rating and cross-country mobility than the original CAESAR, based on 6×6 chassis. The 8×8 version can carry almost twice more ammunition (30 rounds opposed to 18).
   The CAESAR 8×8 is available with 2- or 4-door armored cab. It provides protection for the crew against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Weight of this artillery system ranges from 28.4 to 30.2 t, depending on its armor configuration. Maximum level of ballistic protection is against 7.62×51 mm armor-piercing rounds. Maximum level of mine protection is against landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with explosive power equivalent to 6 kg of TNT. A 12.7 mm machine gun can be mounted on top of the roof for self-protection. Anti-IED device is proposed as an option.
   Vehicle is powered by an unspecified turbocharged diesel engine, developing around 400 hp. Vehicle has all-wheel drive chassis and employs unique Tatra’s independent suspension with backbone tube frame and swinging half-axles. Each wheel moves up and down independently, which allows exceptional cross country mobility and higher speeds on rough roads. This unique chassis has been constantly developed and improved by Tatra for more than 80 years. Vehicle is also fitted with a central tyre inflation system.
   This artillery system can be airlifted by an Airbus A400M, Boeing C17 Globemaster III, or Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft.
   A typical battery should consists of around 8 CAESAR 8×8 truck mounted howitzers. Each of them will be escorted by an associated ammunition resupply vehicle.
The Caesar 8×8 is an upgraded version of the 6×6 Caesar wheeled self-propelled howitzer using 155/52 caliber cannon. This artillery is designed and manufactured by the French Defense Company Nexter Systems. This version of the Caesar was unveiled during the defense exhibition in London, DSEI in September 2015. The Caesar 8×8 presented at DSEI was based on the Tatra T-815 8×8 chassis, but the Nexter 155mm artillery system can be fitted on other 8×8 truck chassis available on the military market manufactured by Renault trucks defense, Rheinmetal MAN military and Sizu. The French company has developed the new concept of the Caesar to response of new customer requirement of the using of the new automatic loading system and to increase the payload to carry more ammunitions and charges. The Caesar 8×8 can come into action in less than 1 min, and can go out of action in the same time. It can be easily transported by military aircraft such as C-130 and A400M. On March 2017, Denmark has selected the Caesar 8×8 to replace their current American-made m109A3 155 mm tracked self-propelled howitzer which in in service since 1965. The 6×6 Caesar has already been used in combat operation in Mali, Afghanistan, Lebanon and recently in Iraq.
Variants:
-CAESAR Nexter Systems with Unimog chassis U2450 6×6
-CAESAR Nexter Systems with Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa 5 chassis 6×6
-CAESAR Nexter Systems with Ashok Leyland chassis 6×6
-CAESAR Mk2 Nexter Systems wheeled self-propelled howitzer
Armament
The main armament of the Nexter Caesar 8×8 consists of one 155mm/52 cal gun which is similar to the cannon mounted on the 6×6 Caesar. The Caesar 8×8 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 artillery system is fitted with a semi-automatic loading system for charges and shells. To increase the rate of fire an automatic projectile and charges loader are mounted on each side of the breech, each are loaded manually by the crew. In road position the cannon is held at the rear of the crew cabin by a clamp which is operated by remote control. The Caesar 8×8 has a firing range from 4.5 to 40 km with standard ammunitions 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.
Design and protection
The Caesar 8×8 is based on an 8×8 Tatra chassis with a standard unarmored crew cap at the front of the vehicle and the artillery system at the rear. The crew cab has 1 single door on each side. The ammunitions and charges are stored in boxes located on each side of the truck chassis. In option the vehicle can be fitted with an armored cab that provides ballistics protection STANAG 4569 Level 3 against firing of small arms 7.62x51mm AP (Armor Piercing) and Mine protection Level 2 blast explosion 6Kg of TNT under the wheels. The crew cab can accommodate a total of 5 military personnel. The Caesar 8×8 has a crew of 5 consisting of a commander, a driver, a gunner and 2 ammunitions loader but it can be reduce to 3 people. All the firing operations are performed outside of the vehicle. The Caesar 8×8 has a gross weight from 28.4 to 30.2 tons depending on the level of armor protection and a length of 12.3m, width of 3.1 m and a height of 2.80 m. 
Mobility The CAESAR 8×8 uses an 8×8 military Tatra trucks chassis motorized with an air-cooled 410HP Diesel engine. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 90 km/h and 50Km/h in off-road condition with a maximum cruising range of more than 600 km. The Caesar 8×8 is able to climb forward slopes up to 40%, side slopes of 30% and fording depth of 1.20 m without preparation. It can cross trenches up to 2.10 m.AccessoriesStandards equipment of the Caesar 8×8 includes an onboard computerized fire control system and a global positioning system/inertial navigation system. The vehicle is also equipped with auxiliary power units and maintenance tools as spare wheels, winch and more.
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