The commander of the 18th Airborne Corps Artillery recently submitted a formal request to Army headquarters for a new truck-mounted 155 mm howitzer, claiming that the towed guns in the current arsenal lack the mobility and range needed for today’s conflicts.
Specifically, the 18th Airborne Corps wants the Army to purchase a battery of five Caesar artillery systems, for field testing and evaluation.
The Caesar is a 52-caliber 155 mm howitzer installed on a 7-ton Daimler-Benz 6×6 truck. It has a range of 42 km–compared to 30 km for the Army’s current artillery guns–and is C-130 transportable.
There’s a problem with the Caesar mobile artillery system, though. It’s built in France. Although a US firm would probably partner with Giat, the French manufacturer, that is not an insignificant strike against it at this point in time. Another issue, I imagine, is the growing belief that air power and “smart” bombs are replacing artillery as the primary source of battlefield firepower.
Although the current conflict has demonstrated the power of precision air strikes, I don’t really see them as a replacement for a big gun on the ground alongside the grunts. Especially as more and more advanced World War 3 jet fighters are budgeted at the expense of bombers and tactical support aircraft like the A-10.
This is the Fourth World War, and we need WW4 weapons. And high-tech isn’t always the answer. In battle, you can never have enough big guns.