The Colombian Ministry of National Defence (Ministerio de Defensa Nacional) has selected the CAESAR 6×6 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) for its Army. The French-developed CAESAR is gaining more and more popularity mainly due to its participation in the war in Ukraine, it is doing very well with precise strikes on positions of the Russian armed forces. The Colombian Army uses its artillery in real fire missions mainly attacking positions of Colombian drug cartels or ongoing battles between FARC guerrillas and the government. Infodefesa reported that Colombia is said to have set aside $101.7 million for the purchase of an undisclosed amount of howitzers as part of a procurement process dubbed nº 21-2022 MDN-EJC.
The CAESAR (CAmion Équipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie, 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. Units manufactured for the French Army use a 6×6 Renault Sherpa 5 chassis, while exported versions have been integrated on the 6×6 Unimog U2450L or the 8×8 Tatra 815 chassis for example.
The CAESAR platform was developed by French defense contractor GIAT Industries (now known as Nexter) and 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.
On 16 September 2015, Nexter unveiled the CAESAR 8×8 which features a high level of mobility ensured by a modified Tatra 815 8×8 chassis. The 8×8 CAESAR is fitted as standard with an unarmoured forward control four-person cab. Gross vehicle weight would depend on the level of armour protection, but is about 30 tonnes. It is powered by a 410 hp diesel engine. 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).