Artillery: June 23, 2003

Archives

The U.S. Marine corps never cared much for self-propelled artillery, feeling that they could not afford the size and weight of such systems on their amphibious ships, and that towed guns provided everything they needed. The marines did not expect to do a lot of fast moving battlefield maneuvering, so a towed gun suited them just fine. Until Iraq. Granted, this was a first for the Marines. Iraq was their longest inland combat operation, and the fastest. But they now expect more of this, and are looking for a more mobile 155mm howitzer. So, it seems, is the U.S. Army, which is still trying to find adequate (lightweight and mobile) artillery support for their medium brigades. Unfortunately, the most likely solution, the Caesar truck mounted 155mm howitzer, is foreign made (in France). This makes it difficult to get the money out of Congress, which does not like to be accused of "exporting jobs." But the Caesar system fits the bill. It's a 6x6 truck that weighs 18.5 tons when loaded for combat (with 16 rounds of ammo and the six man crew on board.) Unloaded, it weighs 16.2 tons, meaning it's the right weight, and size, to be carried by a C-130 aircraft. Not only is Caesar about half the weight of conventional tracked self-propelled gun, but is faster on roads (100 kilometers an hour) and has a range, on roads,  of 600 kilometers. The crew compartment is armored and the gun can get into, or out of, firing order in less than a minute.  There have been designs like this before, and Caesar builds on past experience. The U.S. Army is evaluating a Caesar system, and the marines are keeping an eye on that. A buying decision by the military is expected by the end of the year. But a decision to buy has to get past Congress, which would be the most difficult part of the procurement process. Other nations also have systems similar to Caesar, and the marines are considering buying a truck mounted MLRS rocket system. But mobile gun artillery is still seen as a future need.

 


Article Archive

Artillery: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close