The Indonesian Army programme to update its conventional artillery capability with the acquisition of new systems with greater range and accuracy is well under way. Nexter Systems of France has now delivered 37 CAESAR 155mm/52 calibre self-propelled (SP) artillery systems based on a Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa (6x6) cross-country chassis to the Indonesian Army. They are deployed with two regiments – each has 18 systems, plus there is one for training.
Maximum range depends on the 155mm projectile and charge combination, but firing a 155mm high-explosive (HE) base bleed (BB) projectile, a maximum range of 39km can be achieved. Firing an HE extended range full bore BB (ERFB BB) brings this to a maximum range of 42km. In addition to HE projectiles, a wide range of other 155mm projectiles can be fired, including smoke, illuminating and Nexter Munitions Bonus top-attack projectile carrying two submunitions.
CAESAR has also fired the US Raytheon 155mm M982 Excalibur precision-guided munition, which has seen extensive combat use. CAESAR carries a total of 18 x 155mm projectiles, modular artillery charges and fuzes.
In addition to being deployed by Indonesia, CAESAR is in service with France (77), the Saudi Arabian National Guard (136) and Thailand (six).
While France, Indonesia and Thailand use the Sherpa (6x6) truck chassis, the Saudi Arabian National Guard uses the German UNIMOG (6x6) cross-country chassis.
More recently, Nexter Systems has developed a CAESAR in an 8x8 configuration, which uses a Tatra chassis. This has a higher level of mobility, an increased ammunition supply to 30 x 155mm projectiles and associated charges, and a projectile ammunition handling system to reduce fatigue.
Indonesia has also now taken delivery of 36 Brazilian AVIBRAS Artillery Saturation Rocket Systems (ASTROS) installed on a Tatra (6x6) chassis, plus associated command and control vehicles and resupply vehicles. These currently fire unguided surface-to-surface rockets, but guided rockets are under development.
Indonesia is also interested in acquiring up to 40 surplus M109 series 155mm tracked SP artillery systems to further boost its indirect fire capability.