The Czech Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on June 4, 2020 that Czech Army is planning to replace its old Dana 152 mm 8×8 wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) that do not meet current NATO requirements with the French-made CAESAR 155 mm self-propelled artillery systems. The new self-propelled howitzerss will be assigned to a heavy armored brigade that will have been established by 2026. The Nexter Caesar has been down-selected, following the evaluation of eight modern artillery weapons. The artillery system will employ a Tatra T-815 8×8 carrier and the final assembly of the guns would be conducted in the Czech Republic. The Czech MoD is planning to allocate CZK5.95 billion (EUR245 million) for the procurement of the abovementioned artillery systems. According to the ministry, the delivery of the CAESAR guns is scheduled for 2022-2026.
The Caesar 8×8 is an upgraded version of the 6×6 Caesar wheeled self-propelled howitzer using 155/52 caliber cannon. The Caesar 8×8 was based on the Tatra T-815 8×8 chassis, but the Nexter 155mm artillery system can be fitted on other 8×8 truck chassis available on the military market manufactured by Renault trucks defense, Rheinmetal MAN and Sizu. The French company has developed the new concept of the Caesar to response of new customer requirement of the using of the new automatic loading system and to increase the payload to carry more ammunitions and charges. The Caesar 8×8 can come into action in less than 1 min, and can go out of action in the same time. Denmark has purchased 15 units of the new system and have an option for 6 more.
The main armament of the Nexter Caesar 8×8 consists of one 155mm/52 cal gun which is similar to the cannon mounted on the 6×6 Caesar. The Caesar 8×8 as a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds/min. It can carry a total of 30 155mm projectiles and charges, the 155mm cannon has a powered elevation of maximum +72° and traverse 30° left/right and a large hydraulically operated spade is lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform. The CAESAR 8×8 has a brand new fully automated ammunition loading system. It is operated by a crew of 2-3 men. It can be also fitted with a semi-automatic loading system for charges and shells. The Caesar 8×8 has a firing range from 4.5 to 40 km with standard ammunition and 55Km using VLAP (Very Long range Artillery Projectile) rounds.
The Caesar 8×8 is based on an 8×8 Tatra T-815 chassis with a standard unarmored crew cap at the front of the vehicle and the artillery system at the rear. The crew cab has 1 single door on each side. The roof of the truck cab can be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm gun. The vehicle can be fitted with an armored cab that provides ballistics protection STANAG 4569 Level 3 against firing of small arms 7.62x51mm AP (Armor Piercing) and Mine protection Level 2 blast explosion 6Kg of TNT under the wheels. The CAESAR 8×8 uses an 8×8 military Tatra trucks chassis motorized with an air-cooled 410HP Diesel engine. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 90 km/h and 50Km/h in off-road conditions with a maximum cruising range of more than 600 km.