Pros and cons of CAESAR SAU purchase
    Examining Armenia's new arsenal

    ANALYTICS  20 June 2024 - 13:55

    Babek Karimov
    Caliber.Az

    The recent announcement of Armenia's purchase of CAESAR self-propelled artillery systems (SAU) from France has caused considerable resonance in military and media circles. French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu confirmed the signing of the contract, but did not disclose details. According to Jean-Christophe Buisson, the deputy director of the Le Figaro newspaper, the contract provides for the delivery of 36 artillery units. The total value of the contract is expected to be around €180 million.

    Let's try to examine this deal in detail and analyze its pros and cons for the Armenian army.

    Description of CAESAR SAU

    The CAESAR is a modern 155 mm howitzer mounted on a Renault Sherpa 10 truck chassis with an armored cab, which provides additional protection for the crew from shrapnel and small arms fire. The development of this artillery system began in France in the 1980s, during the period of active search for solutions to improve the mobility and firepower of artillery units. After years of testing and development, CAESAR was officially adopted in the early 2000s. Its creation was the result of many years of cooperation between leading French engineers and military experts, which allowed to introduce advanced technologies into the system and ensure high efficiency on the battlefield.

    Advantages of the CAESAR SAU:

    High strategic and tactical mobility: The ability to move and deploy quickly makes this system highly effective in modern warfare.

    Long Range: CAESAR is capable of engaging targets at long ranges, which increases its combat value.

    Low maintenance costs: Compared to other artillery systems, CAESAR has relatively low maintenance costs.

    Disadvantages of CAESAR SAU:

    Poor off-road capability: The truck chassis limits the ability to travel in rough terrain and off-road conditions.

    Low protection: The armored cab provides only minimal protection from enemy fire.

    Limited ammunition: The CAESAR can carry only 18 rounds in the external compartment, which requires frequent ammunition replenishment.

    Use of the CAESAR SAU

    France has used CAESAR in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the most serious test for this system was the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces are actively using CAESAR, but the reviews are not always positive.

    The key problems complained about by the Ukrainian military include:

    Fragility of the satellite communications system.

    Sensitivity to dirt and weather conditions.

    Rapid wear and tear of the gun and chassis.

    Difficulties in repairing and finding spare parts.

    Logistical and economic aspects

    One significant problem for Armenia will be the provision of ammunition for the CAESAR SAU. Armenia's army depots do not have ammunition of the NATO 155mm caliber, and it will have to be purchased from the West. Given the general shortage of 155mm ammunition in Europe, this could become a serious problem. Europe is experiencing a shortage of ammunition production capacity, a fact that French President Macron has also recognized. As a result, the prices for this ammunition can be very high.

    Who will be able to sell ammunition to Armenia in a situation of shortage remains unclear. However, it is obvious that their price will be extremely high. Thus, despite acquiring modern artillery systems, Armenia will face significant logistical and financial challenges in their operation.

    Conclusion

    The purchase of CAESAR SAU from France undoubtedly strengthens the combat capabilities of the Armenian army. However, limited ammunition stocks, high procurement costs and operational problems may significantly reduce the effectiveness of this acquisition. Armenia will face logistical and financial challenges to fully utilize the potential of the new artillery pieces.

    Caliber.Az

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