The Caesar howitzers: all about the powerful French weapons sent to Ukraine

Could this be the tool that spells victory for the Ukrainians?
Loukia Papadopoulos

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has now entered its fifth month and it is more dire than ever. Outgunned and outmanned, Ukrainian troops are using every tool in their arsenal to fight off the invasion by the Russian Federation. 

Delivery of six powerful weapons

To help in this conflict, earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron said that France would deliver six additional long-range self-propelled "Caesar" howitzers to Ukraine, according to Defense Post.

“On top of the 12 Caesars already delivered, I took the decision (to deliver) in the coming weeks six additional Caesars,” Macron told a news conference. The heavy artillery system is highly prized for its accuracy.

A very maneuverable and mobile system

To demonstrate the system's usefulness, Ukraine showcased the weapon to journalists including AFP a week before Macron's statements. AFP reported that the commander of the new system, who asked to be identified only as Glib, said the weapon helped make Ukraine's defenses more agile.

"This system is primarily very maneuverable and mobile," he said.

These Caesar truck-mounted howitzers, made by French company Nexter, are not new. They have previously been used in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Mali. They should offer a key advantage to the Ukrainian troops, however.

Fire and move

Their main attribute is that they allow users to fire and then quickly move away. This means the target does not have time to find the source of the shelling to fire back in response.

The 33-foot-long, 8-foot-wide, and 12-foot-high truck-mounted weapons weigh a whopping 19.5 tons and feature guns mounted on a 6×6 truck whose 245-horsepower engine can help them reach a top road speed of 50 mph and an off-road speed of more than 31 mph. They boast an impressive cruising range of 373 miles but can still easily fit in a transport aircraft to be flown into conflict zones.

Most Popular

The weapons require four to five soldiers to operate. For the weapon to function, a gun-layer must set the coordinates of the target either using a satellite positioning system, such as GPS, or a map.

They then fire the weapon. At that point, the Caesar needs only 60 seconds to get into action and even less than that for the 155mm/52 caliber ordnance, semi-automatic gun to fire six shells at a target between 3 to 31 miles away. 

Even more impressive, the Caesar functions with the same efficiency in any weather and that in less than 40 seconds after the last shell has been fired, the weaponized truck can already be on the move to relocate out of reach of an enemy's response.

The weapon could give Ukraine a major strategic advantage and help it to stand its ground and fight off invading Russian forces.