Misunderstandings and realities: The talk around CAESAR Howitzer at World Defense Show 2024
There's been intriguing speculation online about the CAESAR howitzer displayed at the World Defense Show 2024. Many Russian commentators suspect it's a piece captured from Ukraine, hinted by the noticeable V sign. However, this isn't accurate. The howitzer in question is part of the Saudi National Guard's arsenal.
Notwithstanding the telltale desert camouflage and the distinctive chassis, Russians have not identified the source of this howitzer. France supplied pieces to Ukraine with a Renault Sherpa chassis, differing from the eight-wheel platform versions for Dan. However, the pieces deployed by Saudi Arabia used a chassis from Mercedes-Benz Unimog.
Everything You Need to Know About the CAESAR Howitzer: An Ideal Weapon for Expeditionary Wars
CAESAR, short for CAmion Equipe d'un Systeme d'ARtillerie, translates from French as an artillery system mounted on a truck. Following the Soviet Union's dissolution and the end of the Cold War, multiple nations, including France, sought economic defence strategies.
Due to their military involvement in Africa, the French required a cost-effective alternative to the F3 howitzer, transportable by air. In the 20th century's 90s, this led to the concept of mounting a 155 mm calibre artillery system with an exceptionally long barrel (52 calibres) onto standard military trucks such as the Renault Sherpa or Mercedes-Benz Unimog.
Clocking in at only around 40,000 pounds, the design compromised several features for lightness, including a semi-automatic loading system and unarmored crew cabin. This lack of protection poses significant risks in intense conflicts, such as Ukraine's ongoing war. However, the manufacturer offers an additional armour package that meets the STANAG 4569 standard's Level 2 protection.
Another considerable drawback is the wheeled chassis it uses, which performs worse in challenging terrains than track tractions like those in the Polish Crab or German PzH 2000.
Regardless, the CAESAR howitzers in Ukraine have suffered minimal damage, with only four destroyed and two damaged units thus far. The newer CAESAR Mk II howitzers ordered by Lithuania promise an armoured cabin as a standard feature.
A CAESAR howitzer crew comprises four or five soldiers, and the howitzer can fire up to 6 shots per minute. Besides using standard fragmentation ammunition, this French howitzer employs unique bonus projectiles to destroy armoured targets and guided Vulcano GLR projectiles with a range of approximately 50 miles. Moreover, it utilises modern CAESAR systems to fire in a destructive MRSI mode and occupy or vacate a firing position in less than a minute.