The Royal Moroccan Army has taken delivery of its first batch of 36 Caesar self-propelled howitzers from French manufacturer Nexter Systems. According to the Royal Moroccan Army, the acquisition is part of the country’s ongoing military modernization. The shipment is part of a 2020 agreement, worth €170 million and its ammunition for an additional €30 million. The Royal Moroccan Army asked Nexter to produce artillery systems that could be mounted on military-grade trucks for improved range and mobility. Units manufactured for the Royal Moroccan Army use a 6×6 Renault Sherpa 5 chassis manufactured by the French company ARQUUS. The CAESAR self-propelled howitzers are also equipped with components needed to meet Morocco’s rapid deployment force fire support requirements.
The CAESAR or CAmion Équipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie (English: Truck equipped with an artillery system) is a French 155 mm, 52-calibre self-propelled howitzer installed on a 6×6 or 8×8 truck chassis that can fire all 39/52 caliber NATO-standard shells. Equipped with an autonomous weapon network incorporating an inertial navigation system and ballistic computer, the CAESAR can notably accurately strike targets more than 40 kilometres (25 mi) away using ERFB (Extended Range, Full Bore) ammunition with base bleed, or targets over 55 kilometres (34 mi) away using rocket assisted or smart ammunition. The CAESAR platform has been exported to various countries including Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Ukraine.
The CAESAR is a wheeled, 155mm 52-caliber self-propelled howitzer. It holds 18 rounds and is typically operated by a crew of five, though if necessary the CAESAR can be operated by a crew as few as three. It can be transported by a C-130 or A400M heavy cargo aircraft. It has a firing range of approximately 42 kilometres (26 mi) using an Extended Range, Full Bore (ERFB) shell, and more than 50 kilometres (31 mi) using rocket assisted shells. The system is integrated with a fully computerized system, providing automatic control. During Eurosatory 2006, CAESAR was exhibited with an automated laying system based on the SIGMA 30 inertial navigation system. It is fast to set up for firing and to leave the firing position; it can fire six rounds and move away within two minutes.
On 16 September 2015 at DSEI 2015, Nexter unveiled the CAESAR 8×8 which features a high level of mobility ensured by a modified Tatra T-815 8×8 chassis. The 8×8 CAESAR is fitted as standard with an unarmoured forward control four-person cab, but one of the options is a fully armour protected cab. Gross vehicle weight would depend on the level of armour protection, but is about 30 tonnes. In February 2022, Nexter was awarded a contract by the French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) for the development of the CAESAR 6×6 Mark II new generation (NG) artillery system. The Mark II features a new chassis with a more powerful 460 hp engine and new automatic gearbox, new fire control software, and a Level 2 mine and ballistic armored cabin raising the vehicle’s weight to 25 tonnes (27.56 tons).